Vini Zabù could lose pro status as sponsor heads to WorldTour

Settimana Ciclistica Italiana 2021 - 1st Edition - 3rd stage 4th stage 4th stage Cagliari - Cagliari 168 km - 17/07/2021 - Mattia Bevilacqua (ITA - Vini Zabu' Brado KTM) - photo Tommaso Pelagalli/BettiniPhoto©2021
Vini Zabù in action at the Settimana Ciclista Italiana in July (Image credit: Bettini Photo)

Italian ProTeam Vini Zabù is at risk for 2022, according to multiple news outlets. The squad, which has existed since 2009 with five separate lead sponsors, could drop down to the Continental or U23 ranks next year, with Sicilian winery Vini Zabù possibly moving to a WorldTour team.

Both La Gazzetta dello Sport (opens in new tab) and Tuttobiciweb (opens in new tab) have reported that the team is set to drop out of the UCI's second division ProTeam category, with the latter suggesting that the team could step down to the Continental or U23 ranks.

Meanwhile, main sponsor Vini Zabù, which is part of the Farnese Vini Group that previously sponsored the team in 2011 (under Farnese Vini) and 2013 (under Vini Fantini), will move to the WorldTour as sponsor of Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert for 2022, reports Het Nieuwsblad (opens in new tab).

The Belgian outlet reports that the winery is unable to fund a team for 2022 but wishes to stay in pro cycling, adding that Intermarché directeur sportif Valerio Piva is acting as a contact between the two parties.

Any sponsorship deal with the Belgian team would mean that Vini Fantini Group would have two sponsorship deals in the WorldTour, with Israel Start-Up Nation also sporting the winery on their kits.

Vini Zabù, under the long-term stewardship of Angelo Citracca and Luca Scinto, have taken part in all but three editions of the Giro d'Italia since they started out in 2009 and have taken three stage wins along the way courtesy of Oscar Gatto, Matteo Rabottini (who also won the blue climber's jersey in 2012), and Andrea Guardini.

The team missed the 2021 race after first withdrawing and then being suspended from competing for 20 days following Matteo De Bonis' positive EPO test in March and Matteo Spreafico's positive ostarine test at the 2020 Giro.

The two cases were the latest in a string of positives at the team over the years, following those of Danilo Di Luca, Mauro Santambrogio, Matteo Rabottini, Ramon Carretero, and Samuele Conti.

Vini Zabù have yet to issue any public statement regarding the reports about the team's future, though the team did issue a tweet (opens in new tab) in response to the La Gazzetta dello Sport, noting that Vini Zabù-KTM closed in 2020 - KTM having left as a co-title sponsor last year.

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Daniel Ostanek
Production editor

Daniel Ostanek is production editor at Cyclingnews, having joined in 2017 as a freelance contributor and later being hired as staff writer. Prior to joining the team, he had written for most major publications in the cycling world, including CyclingWeekly, Rouleur, and CyclingTips.


Daniel has reported from the world's top races, including the Tour de France and the spring Classics, and has interviewed many of the sport's biggest stars, including Wout van Aert, Remco Evenepoel, Demi Vollering, and Anna van der Breggen.


As well as original reporting, news and feature writing, and production work, Daniel also runs The Leadout newsletter and oversees How to Watch guides throughout the season. His favourite races are Strade Bianche and the Volta a Portugal, and he rides a Colnago C40.