Luca Paolini gets 18-month ban after positive test for cocaine at Tour de France
Italian Luca Paolini has been suspended for 18 months following his positive test for cocaine at the 2015 Tour de France, the UCI has announced.
Paolini was provisionally suspended on July 10 after testing positive on July 7 for a metabolite of the recreational drug after the cobbled fourth stage of the Tour.
The case was heard by the UCI anti-doping tribunal, which ruled the 39-year-old's positive test was "non-intentional" and, if the 18-month ban is applied from the date of his positive test, which is ordinarily the case, he will be eligible to return in January 2017.
The Katusha rider said in Gazzetta dello Sport he sought help for addiction to sleeping pills after his positive test for cocaine.
A statement from the UCI, cycling's world governing body, 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."
The full decision was to be published on the UCI website.