Boonen to remain with Quick-Step
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Monday, May 11, 2009

Boonen to remain with Quick-Step

by VeloNation Press at 5:04 PM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Doping

After a meeting between Quick-Step boss Frans De Cock, team manager Patrick Lefevere, and Tom Boonen, it has been decided that the Belgian star will remain with the squad.

The flooring giant has confirmed the rider's suspension, and that some sort of financial settlement will be reached between the parties.

Boonen emphasized that he does not in any way minimize his use of cocaine, and will seek help from counselors in a specialized guidance centre certified by the RIZIV (Belgian National Institute of Health).

In a press release by the team they stated that Boonen's problem concerns "occasional use of cocaine, triggered by certain situations, in moments of detention, in particular in the period in between important sports performances in which there is less tension."

The team looked to the treatment of similar cases where the individual does not suffer from addiction in the true sense of the word - a situation where the rider is a slave to the drug.

If Boonen were "addicted", he would have been positive for cocaine earlier and more often.

Typically in this type of situation, counselling by a specialized psychologist or psychiatrist to help the individual prevent a relapse is the solution. The memo explained that in this type of counselling it is most important to recognize and acknowledge the situations that trigger the use to help the individual make appropriate choices when faced with that situation.

The fact of the matter is that Boonen is not the typical case. Not only do his actions effect his personal well being, but they also impact the Quick-Step team and its image.

Unlike a regular citizen, if Boonen were to spin out of control he wouldn't have any limiters with respect to finances and could quickly bring himself to ruin.

In order to protect their investment in the team, Boonen will have counseling for a year, with at least one consultation weekly during the first couple of months. Afterwards, the frequency of his sessions will be determined by the therapist.

Extra measures include a urine test from the team every two weeks, and a hair analysis conducted by a registered laboratory at least three times a year.

The team won't be rushing Boonen back into competition and will make an announcement when he is ready to return.


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