Luca Paolini has been handed an 18-month suspension by the UCI after his failed doping test at the Tour de France last year.
The veteran Italian rider, 39, tested positive for cocaine after the cobbled stage four of last year’s race and has not raced since being informed of his failed test.
And the UCI today issued a statement confirming his suspension.
“The Union Cycliste Internationale (UCI) announces that the UCI Anti-Doping Tribunal has rendered its decision in the case involving Luca Paolini,” it read.
“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.”
Paolini’s Katusha contract was terminated after his failed doping test, with the Italian later admitting to Gazzetta dello Sport he had suffered with addiction to sleeping pills, which in turn led to taking cocaine.
His suspension will end 18 months from the date of the ‘adverse analytical finding’, and so – should he return to the peloton – he will be free to race from January 6 next year, 11 days before his 40th birthday.