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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.

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Tour de France unaffected after car crashes into barriers

Tour de France race director Thierry Gouvenou has said the race will not be affected by an earlier incident in Paris in which shots were fired at a car which drove into barriers set up for the final leg of the event.

Police at the scene of the incident Credit: RTV

Paris police said the driver escaped after refusing to obey police near the Place de la Concorde.

Hundreds of thousands of people gather in the Place de la Concorde and the Champs Elysees for the race's final leg, which is due to arrive in the city later.

"This is a minor incident. It wasn't aimed at the Tour de France, it's not terrorism, it's just a simple refusal to comply, as there are many every day," a police official told Reuters.

Read more: Police hunt man 'who drove through Tour de France barricades'

Police hunt man 'who drove through Tour de France barricades'

Police in Paris are hunting a man who reportedly drove through Tour de France barricades hours before the final arrival of the race.

Officers waiting for the riders to arrive are believed to have opened fire on the car on Place de la Concorde at 8am this morning but the driver, who may have been wounded, drove away.

Local media reported the driver was injured and that there was activity around the US Embassy in the city after the incident.

Chris Froome set to win 2015 Tour de France

Chris Froome effectively sealed a second Tour de France title despite Nairo Quintana's nerve-shredding ascent of Alpe-d'Huez.

Froome is poised to win the Tour de France again. Credit: PA

Froome, the 2013 champion, led nearest rival Quintana (Movistar) by two minutes 38 seconds entering the 110.5-kilometres 20th stage from Modane Valfrejus.

The Team Sky leader's advantage was cut dramatically by the Colombian climber on the 13.8km finishing ascent and its 21 hairpin bends.

But Quintana ran out of road ahead of Sunday's ceremonial finish in Paris, where Froome will stand atop the podium for a second time.

Thibaut Pinot (FDJ) won the stage, with Quintana second, 18 seconds behind and Froome one minute 38 seconds adrift of the Frenchman in fourth.

For the latest highlights, standings and reaction visit ITV's Tour de France website.

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