The Gent-Wevelgem winner was sent home from the race on Friday and immediately suspended by his Katusha team and the sport’s govening body, the UCI.
The UCI announced on Friday that it "notified Italian rider Luca Paolini of an Adverse Analytical Finding of Cocaine (Benzoylecgonine metabolite) in a sample collected in the scope of an in-competition control on 7 July 2015 during the Tour de France."
Paolini, La Gazzetta dello Sport report, took to Twitter late on Friday night to claim his innocence and apologise for the damage he and the positive test had caused: ”I do not know what to say, I'm stunned. I did not take cocaine, let's see the B-sample."
“I believe and have always believed in the controls, are making the sport more credible, more. I wanted to be quiet and solve this thing on my own! ! I am not the type who looks for scandals.
“With success I take my responsibilities in full and try to do so with utmost clarity! I apologize to all my fellow riders and certainly to the Tour de France, epecially ASO, knowing that the timing of this was not appropriate, especially with the high concentration of the media.”
“I apologize to my teammates and the fantastic Team Katusha and I hope that my absence is not detrimental to a good result ... In these days I will do my to bset to understand how it was possible.”
Paolini, 38, added that he will work with the UCI while his case is ongoing.