Boonen won't face criminal charges over cocaine use
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Saturday, June 20, 2009

Boonen won't face criminal charges over cocaine use

by Agence France-Presse at 11:03 AM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Doping
Belgian cycling star Tom Boonen has escaped the threat of criminal charges from a first positive test for cocaine, in May 2008, despite a second positive test in April, local media claimed Saturday.

However the former world champion and winner of the sprinters' green jersey at the Tour de France could still face charges relating to a second positive test for the drug, on April 25 2009.

Boonen first tested positive for cocaine in May 2008, although he escaped any criminal charges on the condition he would stay away from any future drugs scandal inside a three-year period.

Although testing positive less than a year later Flemish-language newspapers Het Nieuwsblad and De Standaard on Saturday quoted a top judge involved in the affair as saying Boonen's positive test in April was not, "for the moment", sufficiently serious to warrant the interest of the public prosecutor's office.

The scandal involving one of Belgium's biggest sports stars, the winner of a string of prestigious one-day classics and the world road race title in 2005, means Boonen will miss the Tour de France for the second year running.

Boonen and his Quick Step team, however, are to contest his ban from the Tour de France by the race organisers ASO (Amaury Sport Organisation) who said they did not believe that his image suited what they envisaged for the great race.

However, Quick Step said on Friday they would pursue all legal channels to contest this decision and believed that they had been helped by a statement also released on Thursday by the sport's governing body the International Cycling Union (UCI).

In it the UCI said they would not be taking punitive action over the six-time Tour de France stage winner's positive test.The Tour de France, with or without Boonen, begins in Monaco and will be held July 4-26.

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