Vini Zabù's Matteo De Bonis tests positive for EPO

Italian rider's positive puts team's wildcard placing at the Giro d'Italia into question

(Image credit: Getty Images)

Italian Matteo De Bonis has been suspended from racing after an out-of-competition doping test found adverse levels of EPO in his body.

The 25-year-old Vini Zabù rider gave the positive test during a control on February 16. He will not be allowed to race until the matter is formally closed, with the Italian having the right to request and attend the analysis of his B sample.

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De Bonis only joined the ProTeam (formerly referred to as Pro-Continental) outfit last year and raced just five times post-lockdown, with his last race being the Tour de Luxembourg last September.

A UCI statement read: “The Union Cycliste Internationale (UCI) announces that the Italian rider Matteo De Bonis was notified of an Adverse Analytic Finding (AAF) for Erythropoiten (EPO) in a sample collected during an out-of-competition control held on 16 February, 2021.

“This target doping control was planned and carried out by the International Testing Agency (ITA) on behalf of the UCI.”

It is the second time in six months that the Italian team have returned a positive doping test, after Italian Matteo Spreaficio tested positive for Enobosarm in two samples given at the Giro d’Italia.

As a result, the team will be suspended for 15-45 days, as per the UCI’s rules which states two positive cases within a 12-month period will trigger an automatic suspension of racing.

The UCI added that they “will shortly refer the matter to the Disciplinary Commission which will render a decision in due course.”

It puts into doubt the team’s participation at the upcoming Giro, which is set to start on May 8. If the team are banned for the maximum amount of time of 45 days, then they will not be able to take to the start in Turin.

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Chris Marshall-Bell

Chris first started writing for Cycling Weekly in 2013 on work experience and has since become a regular name in the magazine and on the website. Reporting from races, long interviews with riders from the peloton and riding features drive his love of writing about all things two wheels.

Probably a bit too obsessed with mountains, he was previously found playing and guiding in the Canadian Rockies, and now mostly lives in the Val d’Aran in the Spanish Pyrenees where he’s a ski instructor in the winter and cycling guide in the summer. He almost certainly holds the record for the most number of interviews conducted from snowy mountains.