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Luca Paolini Receives 18-Month Ban from the UCI for Doping

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Luca Paolini received an 18-month ban for doping by the UCI today, after testing positive for cocaine during last year’s Tour de France.

Paolini has the right to appeal the decision, but according to his former team, Katusha, they will not take him back after terminating his contract last year.

“The Union Cycliste Internationale (UCI) announces that the UCI Anti-Doping Tribunal has rendered its decision in the case involving Luca Paolini,” a statement on the UCI’s website said.

“The Anti-Doping Tribunal found the rider guilty of a non-intentional anti-doping rule violation (presence of a cocaine metabolite – benzoylecgonine) and imposed an 18-month period of ineligibility on the rider. In accordance with the Procedural Rules of the Anti-Doping Tribunal, the decision will shortly be published on the UCI website.”

Cocaine is classified as a banned substance in competition under the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) code. However, the rules also state, that a rider will not be banned, if they test positive for a recreational drug outside of competition.

In Paolini’s case, the Italian rider claimed he used cocaine while at a personal training camp in June, and that he had been battling addiction for years. 

Since his initial suspension back in June, Paolini is believed to have undergone treatment for his addiction. In an interview with the Italian newspaper, Gazzetta dello Sport, back in December, he revealed he had been addicted to the drug for a number of years, despite managing to win Gent-Wevelgem and continue a successful career with Katusha.

“We are happy that there’s now been a decision but for us it doesn’t change anything for the team because we terminated his contract last year. At a certain point he admitted to us that he took cocaine and that’s really against our team rules. He still has the right to go to appeal but it doesn’t change things for us. We have strict anti-doping policy,” a Katusha spokesperson said.

from the UCI…

UCI statement on Luca Paolini
13 April 2016

The Union Cycliste Internationale (UCI) announces that the UCI Anti-Doping Tribunal has rendered its decision in the case involving Luca Paolini.

The Anti-Doping Tribunal found the rider guilty of a non-intentional anti-doping rule violation (presence of a cocaine metabolite – benzoylecgonine) and imposed an 18-month period of ineligibility on the rider.

In accordance with the Procedural Rules of the Anti-Doping Tribunal, the decision will shortly be published on the UCI website.

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