Alexander Kristoff (right) and Katusha teammate Luca Paolini at the start of the 2015 Scheldeprijs in Antwerp
  • Dave

    That’s shocking, but hardly surprising. Verbruggen and McQuaid would be proud of it!

    After campaigning on a platform of cleaning up the sport, the positions of Brian Cookson and the vice-presidents elected on his ticket are now completely untenable. They need to resign, effective today, and refuse to stand in the emergency elections for the new president and management committee.

    • Larry @CycleItalia

      You’ll be shocked Dave when I say I agree 100% with your first sentence. The second might be a bit harsh however. I’ve been less than impressed with Mr. Cookson but I wouldn’t sack him just yet.

    • jules

      I think this is a reasonable decision. Paolini’s cocaine use does not appear linked to any intent to dope. Whether he was using it to party or to help him sleep – I support that type of use being treated separately from performance-based doping. There’s no obvious justification for conflating what are clearly 2 different types of drug abuse, other than over-simplifying it as “well it’s still drugs”.

      • ummm…

        your not implying he was using the cocaine to sleep, just the pills – correct?

    • ummm…

      cmon, Paolini was just trying to have a little fun!

  • lifethroughhaze

    Wait… so team Dr’s know he’s self medicating with sleeping pills and cocaine to compete, and he competed to quite a high degree in the classics last season, turn a deliberate blind eye and get off scott free? Cocaine is a stimulant that allowed him to compete, he would not have been able to perform without it due to his sleeping pill addiction, according to his testimony, therefore it’s performance enhancing. What a crock.

    • Michele

      He hasn’t got off Scott free though.

      • donncha

        No, but his team has…. again!

        • ummm…

          so has every other team. doping is now the most exciting thing in cycling. that and the pretty bikes.

    • jules

      if they stopped him from competing for using sleeping pills to help him sleep, they’d have to stop half the peloton.

      the issue of coke use stands alone. it wasn’t used as a performance-enhancing substance. sure, you can argue it was performance-enhancing by expanding the definition – eating pasta is performance enhancing too.

      • ummm…

        well cocaine makes him want to eat less so it could go both ways. he may lose weight, but he may not also eat enough prerace. I have no studies to back up any assertions

    • ummm…

      i dunno i’ve ridden after taking a couple of bumps. didnt really help. I dont think it did, although I couldnt get my strava numbers because they flagged me for suspiciously fast results.

  • Anthony

    It’s nice to know that you can still be near the top level of the sport and still do a bit of booger sugar. Party, my house, Saturday night, post ride. Now you pansies can continue your worthless bitching on the internet concerning drugs in sports. As if.

    • donncha

      Woohooo!! And we can still race Sunday morning :D

    • ummm…

      booooger sugar! lol. haven’t heard that one. And, I’m down. I’m guessing rides are not early morning, and they last until 4AM.

  • Daniel

    I get why they wouldn’t want to punish the whole team because Paolini was putting coke up his nose, but this is another arbitrary application of the rules. The only reading available of that clause is that if two riders are caught doping the team shall be suspended and that the duration of the suspension shall be within that range as determined by all the circumstances. It was open to the commission to say they were going to limit the ban to fourteen days due to the circumstances, but it was not open to say that the circumstances dictated no ban.

  • Samuel G

    Seems to me Cookson and Makarov have missed an opportunity here to play some politics and make their reputedly close business and political relationship look less than it really is or is rumoured to be. Instead they come out of this looking dodgy again. Its very simple, cocaine is on the WADA banned list and Paolini had it in his system while racing. Any rider caught with it in their system will obviously try and wriggle out of it by claiming it was recreational and come up with some sort of sob story (although I find Paolinis story of his troubles entirely believable and pretty sad). The UCI look at best soft, at worse blatantly corrupt. They could have used the mitigating factors mentioned in their statement today to limit punishment to 15 days rather than 45. Katusha would have missed a few minor races, used the time well to train and recover and been back in time for Omloop, minimal harm to the team, possibly a racing benefit even but at least a signal sent that would have stood up to any challenge at CAS.

  • B2

    The oh so common mantra of protecting the brand, sponsors and investors in professional sport once again trumps community standards and morals. One only has to take a closer look at the devastation that cocaine production, sale and use exerts in various communities around the world to know this decision must be appealed. But of course, who in this myopic world will?

    • ummm…

      wait wait wait i was with you until you started crusading against cocain. say what you want about rules and standards in sport, but drug policies and the ethics surrounding millenia of human drug use is NOT informed at all by this instance or made untenable by your statement. You need to do some research………

  • Vincent

    The UCI’s stance against cheating is a joke. While Froome gets spat at and covered urine, they stay virtually silent and do nothing to support him, while Cpntador and others plié their trade unaffected behind him, despite serving bans for doping. Now, when they have an option to make a stance, they back down and decide to ‘choose’ which drugs they are against. This is just nuts and shows that even the governing body isn’t that determined to get rid of the cheats. A banned drug, is a banned drug. How hard is that to get?? These are professionals, snorting coke is illegal in law, not just in sport!! Ban for the team, end of!
    Keep going Chris, and all, the other clean cyclists, you have the support of the silent majority, maybe even the silent few in the UCI.

    • pedr09

      I agree clean cyclists are not being supported properly. But I’m not sure what you mean about ‘Contador and others…”

      • ummm…

        they aren’t being supported because the cycling clubs they ride for are doing so at CAT5

    • ummm…

      wah wah wah Froome on the cross again. Please, dont defend ANY professional athlete. it isn’t intelligent, worth your time, or productive. How many times do you have to be proven wrong to at least withhold your opinion. the silent majority in most of cycling history have BEEN THE DOPERS. and now you are pretending that those that are silent are the “clean” athletes and their fans? puuuhhhllleeeezzz

  • Vincent

    The UCI’s stance against cheating is a joke. While Froome gets spat at and covered urine, they stay virtually silent and do nothing to support him, while Cpntador and others plié their trade unaffected behind him, despite serving bans for doping. Now, when they have an option to make a stance, they back down and decide to ‘choose’ which drugs they are against. This is just nuts and shows that even the governing body isn’t that determined to get rid of the cheats. A banned drug, is a banned drug. How hard is that to get?? These are professionals, snorting coke is illegal in law, not just in sport!! Ban for the team, end of!
    Keep going Chris, and all, the other clean cyclists, you have the support of the silent majority, maybe even the silent few in the UCI.

  • ceedee

    Nothing wrong occasional line here or there. Good to see UCI not acting like some one’s mum.

    • ummm…

      as long as here or there isn’t at grandmas house

  • duckingtiger

    I am not sure what to make of this. Katusha has it easy a few times to many now.

  • Craig

    After all that’s happened over the past 2 decades in cycling . . . a demonstration that (a) the rules are still soft, flexible, and open to interpretation, and (b) team ownership and UCI management are not mutually exclusive roles, is not sending a clear message to athletes or to fans that the sport is getting cleaned up. In my opinion, this is no better than accepting a back-dated T.U.E.

    • ummm…

      oh please. let the man live. your boss doesn’t bother you if you want to have a lil fun on a saturday night.

      • Craig

        Well, first of all, if I was a thoracic surgeon (or an airline pilot, or a diamond cutter, or a taxi driver, etc), I should expect that my boss would have PLENTY to say, if I turned up for work with drugs in my system. Secondly, this was not a matter of him being “on his own time”. The result came from an in-competition test in the middle of the TdF . . . for a pro cyclist, that’s 3 weeks of solid work, and there’s no room for “partying on a Saturday night”. Thirdly, cocaine is purely and simply “on the banned list”, and all professional athletes know that “banned” means “not for you”. He made his career choice, and it includes a “no drugs” policy (at least during competition). His “lil fun” breaks the rules, puts his team’s status at risk, jeopardizes his career . . . and essentially says, “My fun is more important than your rules, your livelihoods, or the institute of professional sport.” Let the man live . . . somewhere else!

        • ummm…

          oh craig you harshed my buzz. you are right, although many of the careers you list have people that take tons of cocaine; i mean cmon diamond cutter? wtf? Of course i live in nyc and they sell cocaine at the grocer so maybe i a bit more liberal. you are right he probably should not have been partying during his “busy period” during the year. but when I am doing year end reports or next year budgets somtimes i need to pull some long days, nah mean. FIne, Luca should not have been partying hard during the TDF. Maybe a couple of drinks and some mary jane, but end it there like dignified person…………..

        • Neuron1

          Craig, Actually the test is for a cocaine metabolite, not cocaine inself. The metabolite is detectable in urine for up to 14 days after consumption of the drug. Therfore long after any potential sporting use benefit. Show a little humanity, the guy clearly has a problem since the death of his brother. According to rider comments I’ve seen, sleeping pill as well as heavy alcohol use within the peloton is endemic due to the frenetic pace of the travel.

        • Craig

          Perhaps you guys are right. Maybe it’s all “fine”, no harm done, there are extenuating circumstances, everyone’s doing it, it’s not black-and-white, etc, etc. I disagree 100%, but perhaps I’m wrong, and maybe we should all just soften the stance against drugs in sport. If that’s the case, I’m fine with being “wrong”.

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