Luca Paolini pictured before the stage.
  • Dave


    I hope WADA appeal the weak sanction.

    • velocite

      Funny, I thought ‘that’s harsh’. You know more about these things than I do – wouldn’t be difficult – but why is cocaine on the banned list? And if it’s just for general health reasons why isn’t a couple of months more appropriate?

      • Dave

        It’s banned from in-competition use because it’s a stimulant.

        The ‘non-intentional use’ bit is hilarious. Did he trip over and land on a line? For anyone not contracted to a team owned by an influential powerbroker on the UCI Management Committee, that would have seen a few months added onto the full four year ban for taking the piss.

        • Michele

          Well I’d imagine if Luca took the drug out of competition, like he has suggested, and he never intended for it to be in his body by the start of the TdF, then he could argue it was “non-intentional use”.

          Bear in that although cocaine stays in your system for just 48 hours:

          Drug tests are designed to detect the metabolite of cocaine, benzylecgonine. When cocaine is metabolized in the body it undergoes hydrolysis. The process of hydrolysis leaves a by-product known as benzoylecgonine. It is that metabolite which is the decisive component that indicates the use of cocaine. This metabolite remains in the system for at least a month following intake.

      • Michele

        I think 18 months is harsh .. only because:

        Tom Boonen has been busted twice for Cocaine [in 2008 and 2009]; both times out of competition, and hence he didn’t get an official UCI / WADA endorsed ban. Quick-Step did place an internal ban on him.

        I’m not going to look it up, but I’m 99% sure Tom said one of his positives came about because he was tested shortly after he won a big spring race [may have even been P-R].

        Here’s a hypothetical [and nothing more:]

        – Let’s say Paolini is telling the truth and he took Cocaine before the TdF [but not during the race], but then got busted during the race.

        – Now let’s say that Boonen actually had Cocaine is his body whilst competing, but for whatever reason, didn’t have to provide an in-competition urine/blood sample. Then a few days later he gets tested out of competition – and the cocaine that’s been in his body for several days shows up. However, there’s no ban for him.

        If the above scenario were true, then Paolini’s ban in either too harsh, or Boonen’s is no where near harsh enough.

        I just think there needs to be some more consistently to the applying of bans for some drugs that get treated different from in and out of competition.

        • velocite

          I get what you’re saying there, goes to the integrity of the compliance process. My thought is less complicated: leaving aside that Paolini is such a friendly looking chap, although Cocaine may affect performance through being a stimulant that is not why Paolini or Tom ingested it, is it? Also, I assume the effect is small. But it seems to me that intent is a legitimate issue. If you use EPO then your intention is to cheat. Cocaine? I assume you just want a good time. Not that I would know.

  • De Waffle Stoemper

    Don’t worry, he’ll be starting the 2017 season with one of those Italian pro conti teams. Standard.

  • Hamish Moffatt

    Is it true the 18 month ban is actually for that outrageous helmet?

    • Dave

      I don’t think the UCI has started cracking down on ugly helmets. I just checked the Paris-Roubaix highlights and thought I saw a Cannondale rider still there.

      Maybe it’s the beard?

  • Derek Maher

    I guess Luca will retire if he can afford it. Sports people just have to be careful with their recreational stimulants and life style. Booze, smoking hash or other party boosters can be costly. Best to live the life of a warrior monk to avoid these issue’s.


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