Luca Paolini

Luca Paolini (born 17 January 1977) is an Italian former road bicycle racer, who rode professionally between 2000 and 2015. He started his sports career in the early 2000s by joining Mapei–Quick-Step (2000–2002), UCI ProTeam directed by Patrick Lefevere. Within Mapei-Quick Step and then its successor team Quick-Step–Innergetic (2003–2005), Luca Paolini achieved several victories. Among them were first places at Gran Premio di Lugano, Giro del Piemonte and Gran Premio Bruno Beghelli. He has also won stages at Tour of Britain and Tour de Wallonie.

Luca Paolini
Luca Paolini CHN 2013 (Cropping).jpg
Personal information
Full nameLuca Paolini
NicknameIl Gerva
Born (1977-01-17) 17 January 1977 (age 44)
Milan, Italy
Height1.74 m (5 ft 9 in)
Weight66 kg (146 lb)
Team information
Current teamRetired
Rider typeClassics specialist
Professional teams
2008–2010Acqua & Sapone–Caffè Mokambo
2011–2015Team Katusha
Major wins
Grand Tours
Giro d'Italia
1 individual stage (2013)
Vuelta a España
1 individual stage (2006)

One-day races and Classics

Gent–Wevelgem (2015)
Omloop Het Nieuwsblad (2013)
Brabantse Pijl (2004)
Giro del Piemonte (2002)
Medal record
Representing  Italy
Men's road bicycle racing
World Championships
Bronze medal – third place 2004 Verona Elite Men's Road Race


Paolini in the Maglia Rosa at the 2013 Giro d'Italia

Paolini was born in Milan. Seasons 2006–2007 and 2008–2010 Luca Paolini spent in two Italian cycling team – Liquigas and Acqua & Sapone respectively. As their member, he triumphed at certain stages of Vuelta a España and Three Days of De Panne, won one-day races Gran Premio Città di Camaiore, Trofeo Laigueglia, Coppa Placci as well as Coppa Bernocchi. Meanwhile, his bright victories attracted a particular attention from anti-doping bodies. As his name appeared in taped phone conversations together with Ivan Basso and his sister Elisa, he was suspected in illegal drugs usage.[1] In September 2006 Paolini's home was searched in a doping investigation which was called Operazione Athena[2] – however it appears that no evidence was found that led to any conviction of Paolini's fault, so Team Liquigas refused to suspend him.[3]

In 2011, he was signed by Russian Team Katusha to be a domestique for Filippo Pozzato both at classics and Grand Tours. However, due to Pozzato's poor performance and traumas in season 2011, he switched to other co-riders and pursued his personal goals in the peloton. In autumn 2011 he finished third at Giro del Piemonte having taken his first podium for Team Katusha.[4] In 2013, Paolini took the Omloop Het Nieuwsblad after breaking away from the leading group with Omega Pharma–Quick-Step's Stijn Vandenbergh. The pair resisted and Paolini won the sprint after Vandenburgh took long pulls in the final kilometers.[5] In Milan – San Remo, Paolini finished in the lead group in fifth position, as MTN–Qhubeka's Gerald Ciolek won the race.[6]

In 2015, Paolini won a very windy and difficult edition of Gent–Wevelgem, as only 39 riders out of 160 finished the race. Paolini attacked his breakaway companions with five kilometers to go and benefited from a disorganized chase to win solo.[7] In May, it was announced that Paolini's contract with Katusha had been extended by a year, finishing at the end of 2016.[8]

Doping caseEdit

In the 2015 Tour de France, Paolini tested positive for cocaine and was thrown out of the race after Stage 7.[9] His contract with Katusha was nullified. He revealed that he had been suffering from an addiction to the sleeping drug benzodiazepine and claimed to have taken cocaine "at a low point in his life".

In April 2016, he was banned from competition for 18 months, with the UCI judging that he had not intended to breach the anti-doping rules, as they do not prohibit the use of cocaine outside competition. Katusha confirmed that he would not be able to return to the team.[10]

Paolini's ban expired in January 2017, however in an interview that month he said that he had retired from racing after being unable to find a team, and had invested in a coffee bar in Como. He also stated that he had overcome his addiction to benzodiazepine.[11]

Major resultsEdit

1st Trofeo Città di Brescia
1st Gran Premio di Poggiana
2nd   Road race, UCI Under-23 Road World Championships
2nd Giro del Mendrisiotto
Tour de l'Avenir
1st   Points classification
1st Stage 1
1st Stage 3 Tour de Normandie
1st Mountains classification Danmark Rundt
5th Gran Premio della Costa Etruschi
1st Gran Premio di Lugano
4th Giro del Piemonte
5th Coppa Bernocchi
1st Giro del Piemonte
2nd Overall Tour de la Région Wallonne
4th Japan Cup
8th Coppa Bernocchi
8th Coppa Placci
9th Criterium d'Abruzzo
9th Tre Valli Varesine
10th Gran Premio di Chiasso
10th Gran Premio Bruno Beghelli
1st Gran Premio Bruno Beghelli
2nd Coppa Sabatini
3rd Milan–San Remo
3rd Brabantse Pijl
6th Overall Vuelta a Andalucía
7th Paris–Brussels
8th Road race, UCI Road World Championships
8th Paris–Tours
9th Overall Tirreno–Adriatico
1st Brabantse Pijl
3rd   Road race, UCI Road World Championships
3rd Gran Premio Città di Camaiore
5th Trofeo Laigueglia
Tour of Britain
1st   Points classification
1st Stages 3 & 6
1st Stage 3 Tour de la Région Wallonne
2nd HEW Cyclassics
8th GP Ouest–France
1st Gran Premio Città di Camaiore
1st Stage 12 Vuelta a España
3rd Coppa Bernocchi
3rd Milan–San Remo
4th Trofeo Matteotti
Vuelta a Mallorca
6th Trofeo Cala Millor
10th Trofeo Mallorca
7th E3 Prijs Vlaanderen
3rd Giro della Romagna
3rd Tour of Flanders
4th Coppa Bernocchi
10th Overall Three Days of De Panne
1st Stage 1
1st Trofeo Laigueglia
1st Coppa Placci
2nd Giro del Piemonte
3rd Paris–Brussels
4th Giro della Romagna
5th Gran Premio Industria e Commercio Artigianato Carnaghese
6th Gent–Wevelgem
7th Overall Giro della Provincia di Grosseto
7th GP Industria & Artigianato di Larciano
10th Overall Three Days of De Panne
1st Coppa Bernocchi
1st Stage 6 Settimana Ciclistica Lombarda
2nd Memorial Cimurri
3rd Road race, National Road Championships
3rd Gran Premio Industria e Commercio di Prato
3rd Giro del Veneto
4th Gran Premio Bruno Beghelli
4th Giro del Piemonte
4th Giro di Lombardia
6th Gran Premio della Costa Etruschi
9th Milan–San Remo
3rd Overall Three Days of De Panne
1st   Points classification
3rd Coppa Ugo Agostoni
4th Omloop Het Nieuwsblad
4th Giro del Veneto
6th Trofeo Laigueglia
6th Giro del Friuli
6th Dwars door Vlaanderen
6th Gran Premio Industria e Commercio di Prato
10th Milan–San Remo
10th Gent–Wevelgem
10th Grand Prix de Wallonie
2nd Gran Premio Industria e Commercio di Prato
3rd Giro del Piemonte
4th Coppa Ugo Agostoni
5th Omloop Het Nieuwsblad
10th Gran Premio Bruno Beghelli
2nd Gran Premio Industria e Commercio di Prato
2nd Gran Piemonte
4th Grand Prix Cycliste de Québec
4th Grand Prix de Wallonie
7th Tour of Flanders
9th Road race, Olympic Games
9th Grand Prix Cycliste de Montréal
10th GP Ouest–France
1st Omloop Het Nieuwsblad
Giro d'Italia
1st Stage 3
Held   after Stage 3–6
5th Milan–San Remo
8th E3 Harelbeke
1st Gent–Wevelgem

Grand Tour general classification results timelineEdit

Grand Tour 2001 2002 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011 2012 2013 2014 2015
  Giro d'Italia 59 111 111
  Tour de France 69 101 108 136 DNF
  Vuelta a España 106 DNF DNF 135 107
Did not compete
DNF Did not finish

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ "T-Mobile: "Do it right or don't do it at all"". Retrieved 29 April 2012.
  2. ^ "Operazione Athena not over for Paolini". Retrieved 2 January 2008.
  3. ^ "Liquigas backs Paolini after house searched". Retrieved 2 January 2008.
  4. ^ "97th Giro del Piemonte — Gran Piemonte". Archived from the original on 22 December 2011. Retrieved 28 April 2012.
  5. ^ Edward Pickering (23 February 2013). "Het Nieuwsblad analysis: Two against eight – how Omega Pharma won, then lost the race". Cycle Sports. IPC Media. Retrieved 26 March 2013.
  6. ^ Ryan, Barry (17 March 2013). "Sagan rues missed opportunity at Milan-San Remo". Cycling News. Future Publishing Limited. Retrieved 18 March 2013.
  7. ^ Nigel Wynn (29 March 2015). "Luca Paolini wins memorable edition of Ghent-Wevelgem". Cycling Weekly. IPC Media Sports & Leisure network. Retrieved 29 March 2015.
  8. ^ Emil Axelgaard (25 May 2015). "Paolini re-signs with Katusha for another season". Cycling Quotes. 2013. Retrieved 26 May 2015.
  9. ^ "Paolini informed of cocaine positive at Tour de France". Immediate Media Company. 10 July 2015. Retrieved 10 July 2015.
  10. ^ "Luca Paolini handed 18-month doping ban". 13 April 2016. Retrieved 13 April 2016.
  11. ^ Farrand, Stephen (18 January 2017). "Paolini abandons hope of a comeback after serving ban for cocaine". Retrieved 18 January 2017.

External linksEdit