Boonen Tour participation in doubt
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Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Boonen Tour participation in doubt

by VeloNation Press at 10:28 PM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Tour de France, Doping

Following a positive test for cocaine, Quick Step team manager Patrick Lefevere manager said Boonen's Tour de France participation is in question.

At a conference in Flanders at Quick Step's headquarters Lefevere told the AFP, "The team maintains its confidence (in Boonen) ... it wouldn't be intelligent to act hastily." Lefevere relayed that he had spoken to Christian Prudhomme about the situation, and will be speaking with him about the situation in the next few days.

Boonen tested positive for cocaine in an out of competition drug test on May 26th by the ministry of the Flemish Community. Searches of his residence by authorities came up clean. This isn't the first time that the rider's name has been connected to the recreational drug. Boonen's name was mentioned as the source of the drug by cyclocross champion Tom Vanoppen in December 2007 when Vanoppen's positive test for cocaine went public.

When asked about the signed Charter that stipulates a team would allow any rider to participate if there is the potential to damage a races reputation, Lefevere moved to distance this incident from the doping problems involving performance enhancing drugs. Unsure whether the charted applied to this case, the team manager insisted this is a private matter.

Boonen explained, "I'm not going to defend myself here today but I hurt my family, my friends and my team and I apologies."

Already beginning to feel the effects of the situation, the former Paris-Roubaix winner is not welcome to take the start in the Tour of Switzerland this Saturday.  This decision does not bode well for his chances to ride the Tour de France come July.


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