CYCLING

Paolini served 18-month ban

Italy's Luca Paolini has been banned for 18 months after testing positive for cocaine at last year's Tour de France, cycling's ruling body the UCI announced.

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Paolini served 18-month ban
ERIC FEFERBERG AFP

Italian cyclist Luca Paolini was banned for 18 months on Wednesday after testing positive for cocaine at last year's Tour de France, cycling's ruling body the UCI announced.

The suspension relates to the 39-year-old's failed dope test for the recreational drug on 7 July 2015 which triggered his sacking by Katusha. The UCI said Paolini was “guilty of a ‘non-intentional’ anti-doping rule violation”.

The cyclist, who started his career in the peloton in 2000 with Mapeil-QuickStep, won one stage in the 2013 Tour of Italy and another stage in the 2006 Tour of Spain. Paolini was the second Katusha team member to fail drug tests within a year.

In February the Russian outfit suspended Eduard Vorganov after he tested positive for meldonium, which boosts oxygen supply to the blood and tissues in the body. Despite those cases the UCI said on 8 February that Katusha would not have their licence suspended.