Matteo Spreafico has been fired by his team Vini Zabù-Brado-KTM after returning two Adverse Analytical Findings for the Selective Androgen Receptor Modulator (SARM) Enobosarm, otherwise known as Ostarine, at the Giro d'Italia.
The 27-year-old Italian returned positive samples of the substance at the race on October 15 and 16 – stages 12 and 13. Spreafico's spell at the ProTeam lasted less than three months, having joined from Androni Giocattoli-Sidermec in August.
Vini Zabù-Brado-KTM General Manager Angelo Citracca told La Gazzetta dello Sport that Spreafico has confessed to Italian police, saying that his rider had ordered a supplement containing the drug – which is claimed to build muscle and aid weight loss – over the internet.
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"The Public Prosecutor's Office of Rimini sent plainclothes Carabinieri, two or three, for the notification," said Citracca.
"The boy confessed that he took this supplement taken on the internet, handed it over, and then the room was checked, and a report was made. There were no 'blitzes' and no drugs, as shown by checks carried out by the doctor. Spreafico took full responsibility."
Citracca added that the team "reserves the right to ask for damages."
Spreafico, who turned professional in 2017 and won the 2018 Vuelta a Venzuela, faces a four-year ban from the sport, though that could be reduced if he can prove that the anti-doping violation was unintentional.
Back in August, under-23 rider Luca Colnaghi, who races for the famed Zalf-Euromobil-Désirée Fior team, tested positive for the same substance at the Giro dell'Emilia and European Championships in Plouay. His team released a statement claiming that the youngster had ingested the supplement inadvertently via a supplement based on ketones.
The Cycling Anti-Doping Foundation (CADF) notified Italian authorities of Spreafico's positive tests, which fall foul of Italian law 376: 'Health protection of sporting activities in the fight against doping'.
Under the law, which was established in 2000, 'anyone who procures… the use of drugs is punishable by imprisonment from a period between three months to three years, and a fine of 5 million to 100 million lire (€2,488 to €49,750)'.
No Italian professional cyclist has been jailed due to doping, though Dario Frigo received a six-month suspended sentence in 2005 as a result of the infamous San Remo Blitz at the 2001 Giro d'Italia, and Riccardo Riccò received a two-month suspended sentence after testing positive for CERA at the 2008 Tour de France.