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Cyclist given 18-month ban for taking cocaine

The Katusha rider said in Gazzetta dello Sport he sought help for addiction to sleeping pills. Credit: PA

Italian Luca Paolini has been suspended for 18 months following his positive test for cocaine at the 2015 Tour de France, the UCI has announced.

Paolini was provisionally suspended on July 10 after testing positive on July 7 for a metabolite of the recreational drug after the cobbled fourth stage of the Tour.

The case was heard by the UCI anti-doping tribunal, which ruled the 39-year-old's positive test was "non-intentional" and, if the 18-month ban is applied from the date of his positive test, which is ordinarily the case, he will be eligible to return in January 2017.

The Katusha rider said in Gazzetta dello Sport he sought help for addiction to sleeping pills after his positive test for cocaine.

A statement from the UCI, cycling's world governing body, read: "The anti-doping tribunal found the rider guilty of a non-intentional anti-doping rule violation (presence of a cocaine metabolite - benzoylecgonine) and imposed an 18-month period of ineligibility on the rider."

The full decision was to be published on the UCI website.

Stannard equals best performance by Briton at Paris-Roubaix

Team Sky's Ian Stannard finished third at the prestigious Paris-Roubaix race to equal the best performance by a Briton.

Stannard matched the achievements of Barry Hoban (1972) and Roger Hammond (2004) but was squeezed out in a sprint finish won by Orica-GreenEdge rider Mathew Hayman.

Ian Stannard finished third at the prestigious Paris-Roubaix race. Credit: PA

The Australian's dash to the line in the Roubaix velodrome ended the hopes of Tom Boonen (Etixx-QuickStep) winning an historic fifth Paris-Roubaix, the Belgian veteran having to settle for second.

The 37-year-old Hayman came from the day's early break and remained in the elite five-man group who entered the velodrome, which included Boonen, Stannard, Edvald Boasson Hagen (Dimension Data) and Sep Vanmarcke (LottoNL-Jumbo).

Boonen hit the front in the velodrome as Stannard surged round the outside, but it was Hayman on the inside who powered through to become only the second Australian winner of the cobbled Classic.

The race started at a frenetic pace and was marked by a series of spectacular crashes, the first one on the early cobbled stages splitting the main peloton in two.

Another crash ruled out Fabian Cancellara and, while Peter Sagan somehow managed to avoid falling in the same incident, his hopes of getting back up to the front were effectively ended.


Sir Chris Hoy to race in Le Mans 24 hour race

Sir Chris Hoy is moving to four wheels. Credit: PA

Six-time Olympic cycling champion Sir Chris Hoy will fulfil a lifelong dream by competing in the Le Mans 24 Hour race in June.

The 40-year-old, Britain's most successful Olympian after retiring following two gold medals in the velodrome at London 2012, will compete in the prestigious race, which was first run in 1923 and takes place overnight from June 18 to 19.

Hoy will drive a Nissan-powered Ligier JS P2 chassis at Le Mans' Circuit de la Sarthe, in the second tier of racing, with two team-mates.

Cyclist Myngheer dies following heart attack

Daan Myngheer had a heart attack during a race. Credit: Roubaix Lille Metropole

Belgian cyclist Daan Myngheer died on Monday night after suffering a heart attack while competing in the Criterium International on Saturday, his team has announced.

Myngheer became the second Belgian cyclist to die in as many days following the death of Antoine Demoitie on Sunday evening following a crash in the Gent-Wevelgem race.

The 22-year-old Myngheer abandoned the opening stage of the three-day Criterium International in Corsica on Saturday and was taken to hospital in Ajaccio, where he died on Monday evening surrounded by his family.

Cyclist Antoine Demoitié dies after being hit by motorbike

Antoine Demoitie died in hospital in Lille. Credit: PA

Belgian cyclist Antoine Demoitié has died after being hit by a motorbike following a fall during a race, police have said.

The 25-year-old team Wanty rider was struck during the Gent-Wevelgem race in Belgium on Sunday.

He was taken to a hospital in Lille after the accident in Sainte-Marie-Cappel, northern France.

His team had earlier tweeted that Demoitié's wife and family were with him and that he was in an "extremely serious" condition.

A police spokesman told AFP: "The rider died. An inquiry is under way to determine the circumstances."

The race was won by Slovakia's Peter Sagan.


Cavendish available for GB Olympic track team

Mark Cavendish has made himself available for selection for Great Britain's Olympic track cycling team.

The 30-year-old from the Isle of Man took time to reflect on his Track Cycling World Championships performance, where he placed sixth in the six-discipline omnium earlier this month and won gold in the non-Olympic Madison alongside Sir Bradley Wiggins.

Cavendish has put himself forward to be considered for August's Games in Rio. Credit: PA

And Cavendish, who has twice suffered Olympic disappointment, has put himself forward to be considered for August's Games in Rio after speaking to British Cycling technical director Shane Sutton.

Sutton said: "I spoke to him earlier this week on what his intentions were and his intentions are to carry on with the project.

"Given his performance at the worlds, he's decided that he wants to be put forward for selection at the Games.

"We just wanted him to go away and see where he was at. He's decided he feels he's done enough to warrant putting himself forward and he believes he can still win."

The rider in the omnium must also be able to slot into the four-rider, four-kilometres team pursuit squad as there are three rounds of competition in close proximity.

The team event takes priority over the omnium, which can be something of a lottery, and Cavendish must be able to compete at gold medal-winning, world record-breaking pace.

Cookson to stand for re-election as president of UCI

Cookson was elected president in 2013. Credit: PA

Briton Brian Cookson intends to stand for re-election as president of the UCI, cycling's world governing body, in 2017.

The 64-year-old Lancastrian, who was elected in September 2013 as successor to Pat McQuaid, told delegates of his intention to stand for a further term at the annual congress of the European Cycling Union (UEC) in Portugal on Sunday.

A media release from the UEC on Monday read: "He (Cookson) informed member national federations that he intended to apply for another and final mandate of four years as president of the Union Cycliste Internationale."

Welshman Thomas wins Paris-Nice race

Geraint Thomas was victorious. Credit: PA

Welshman Geraint Thomas has become only the third Briton to win the prestigious Paris-Nice race.

The Team Sky rider started the final day in yellow with a 15-second lead over Alberto Contador and claimed the title after Sunday's seventh stage over 141 kilometres.

Thomas, 29, follows Tom Simpson (1967) and Bradley Wiggins (2012) as British winners of an event which began in 1933, and the victory will underline his credentials as a future Tour de France winner.

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