• Luca Paolini was suspended by his team after testing positive to cocaine at the Tour de France (Getty Images)Source: Getty Images
Banned Italian cyclist Luca Paolini took to social media overnight to launch a Twitter tirade in the wake of his positive test for cocaine at the Tour de France.
Cycling Central

12 Jul 2015 - 7:49 AM  UPDATED 12 Jul 2015 - 8:41 AM

The 38-year-old reigning Gent Wevelgem champion was kicked off the race after his Katusha team was notified of an adverse analytical finding from a sample take after Stage 4.

Testing times
Tan Lines: Prognosis Negative
If his B-sample confirms what the A-sample has already told us, the fall of Luca Paolini will be yet another blow to the sport's credibility, at a time when it was just starting to regain it, writes Anthony Tan.
Paolini out after testing positive to cocaine
Gent-Wevelgem champion Luca Paolini has been withdrawn from Katusha’s Tour de France line-up after testing positive to cocaine.

Paolini apologised first on his Twitter account, but failed to confirm or deny if the positive test had any merit.

And it wasn’t long after that the air turned blue.

"Excuse me but I've had to absorb the blow! I believe and always have believed in the controls, they are making this sport more credible, ever more so," he tweeted.

"I wanted to stay silent and resolve this thing in my own way!! I'm not the type to scream scandal and seek hopeless escapes.

"And as for what's happened, I take full responsibility and will look to clarify this as best as I can! I apologise to all my colleagues, riders and of course @tour [sic], ASO, knowing that it was the least appropriate moment, especially due to the very high media concentration.

"I apologise to my fantastic teammates at @katushacycling and I hope that my absence won't prejudice a good final result...

And then, things became more interesting and a little less predictable.

"Over the coming days I'll do what I can to understand how it was possible... But there's one thing I want to clarify! There's enough evil in the world to undo.

"But there are even more people who like me! Hence f*** off those who criticise freely and I hope, with collaboration from the UCI to clarify as much as possible what happened!

"Good night to the envious and especially to those who've proved to be friends. Once again I'm sorry."

Paolini's positive test was the first at the Tour since Frank Schleck was pinged in 2012 for taking a diuretic, often used a masking agent for other banned substances.

If the Italian’s B-sample returns positive as well, he could face a four-year ban, which would effectively end his career.

Paolini's Katusha team has said nothing more since expressing surprise at the positive test for its rider.

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