Boonen's future in the balance with a third positive for cocaine
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Monday, May 11, 2009

Boonen's future in the balance with a third positive for cocaine

by Steve Jones at 11:52 AM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Doping

It turns out that Belgian's number one cyclist Tom Boonen has in fact tested positive for cocaine three times in out of competition drug tests.

In October of 2007, when living in Monaco, he also underwent an out of competition drug test administered by the UCI. The test came up negative for prohibited substances on the banned list, but positive for cocaine and ecstasy. Since Belgium is the only country where it is required to report the presence of recreational drugs, there was no further action taken and the test result was simply recorded as a negative.

Now that Boonen resides in Belgium his most recent out of competition test - just twelve days after his third Paris-Roubiax win - was reported to the Belgian authorities.

The aftershock of this latest revelation will take more than a press conference to sort out, with the rider admitting he needed to seek professional help for his drug problem. The legal ramifications of being caught within a year of his last offence coupled with the 2007 positive test in Monaco will likely keep the courts from going easy on the man who has ridden his way to national hero and role model.

Former Quick-Step teammate Cedric Vasseur, the President of the Association of Professional Cyclists (CPA), spoke to Radio Monte Carlo about the situation and said, "We must try to understand how it is possible that Boonen was caught again using drugs. This is primarily a psychological problem. Boonen is seriously in trouble and I feel an urgent need of specialists."

The Frenchman could prove the CPA's worth by making sure the association stays actively involved in the situation.

Belgium has a way of making comparisons of their cycling heros, and it would be a shame to compare Boonen's nose dive to that of Frank Vandenbroucke's in twelve months time. Vandenbroucke has recently made great strides in pulling himself out of the hole he dug himself a decade ago, and hopefully he will be able to continue to make progress.


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