Paolini admits to cocaine use


Luca Paolini has admitted to using cocaine after testing positive during the 2015 Tour de France.

Paolini had been riding for Katusha when was thrown out of the race following an adverse finding found in a sample collected from the Italian on the day of the Tour's fourth stage back in July.

He initially protested his innocence and his case was referred to an International Cycling Union (UCI) Anti-Doping Tribunal on December 16.

However, Paolini revealed to the Gazetta dello Sport that he did take the drug and had also been battled an addiction to sleeping pills.

"I was a slave to the sleeping pill, it was very sad," Paolini said. "I quickly realised that this was no accident. I got rid of the sporting aspect, but I was reborn on the human side.

"I do not know if I would do it again. Cocaine made me open my eyes and realise what it was like to be dependent on sleeping pills.

"Thanks to the cocaine episode, I'm back to being a person. I have returned to living. If this is the price to pay to feel good as a person, I am more than willing to accept it.

"I take full responsibility, and I must not look for excuses. But I tell you this story so that people do not repeat the same mistakes.

"I do not know if I will have the chance to put a number on my back [and ride again], but the biggest lesson I received: I must not hide everything inside when there are problems I have to ask for help."