Luca Paolini tests positive for cocaine at the Tour de France

UCI announces Ghent-Wevelgem winner has returned a positive sample

Luca Paolini in action during Stage 3 of the 2015 Tour de San Luis
(Image credit: Watson)

Luca Paolini has tested positive for cocaine following an anti-doping test conducted at the Tour de France.

The Italian rider on the Katusha team returned the positive sample on Tuesday. He will not start Saturday's stage from Rennes to Mûr de Bretagne.

A UCI statement issued on Friday evening asserts that the 38 year old has the right to request and attend the analysis of the B sample.

"In accordance with UCI Anti-doping Rules, the rider has been provisionally suspended until the adjudication of the affair," read the statement.

Although better known as a recreational drug, cocaine (benzoylecgonine metabolite), a stimulant, is on the World Anti-Doping Agency's list of banned substances.

Katusha confirmed in a statement on Friday evening that they had withdrawn the rider from the race immediately. The Russian team added that they would wait for analysis of the B sample before taking any further action.

Paolini finished 172nd, nearly seventeen minutes behind stage winner Tony Martin, on Tuesday's stage over the cobbles of northern France to Cambrai.

One of the elder statesmen in the peloton, Paolini is famed for his well kept beard Earlier this year, he won Ghent-Wevelgem.

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