Katusha doctors knew about Luca Paolini's sleeping drug addiction

Luca Paolini's addiction to sleeping medication indirectly led to the Italian's cocaine positive at Tour de France - Katusha doctors eventually refused to give him sleeping drug - Paolini would drink 'five or six' cups of coffee before breakfast to wake up

Luca Paolini in action during Stage 3 of the 2015 Tour de San Luis

(Image credit: Watson)

Luca Paolini's sleeping medication addition was a known problem in team Katusha, says team doctor Massimo Besnati. The Italian rider took greater amounts to sleep at night and drank more and more coffee to wake in the morning before a cocaine positive test the Tour de France stopped him this July.

The 38-year-old Italian explained yesterday in an interview with La Gazzetta dello Sport newspaper that he was addicted to Benzodiazepine drops, but now has recovered thanks in part to the Tour anti-doping test.

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Gregor Brown

Gregor Brown is an experienced cycling journalist, based in Florence, Italy. He has covered races all over the world for over a decade - following the Giro, Tour de France, and every major race since 2006. His love of cycling began with freestyle and BMX, before the 1998 Tour de France led him to a deep appreciation of the road racing season.