Boonen heads to court Thursday for Tour spot
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Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Boonen heads to court Thursday for Tour spot

by Agence France-Presse at 7:41 AM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Tour de France, Doping
Belgium's former world road race champion Tom Boonen is to appear here at a court on Thursday, in a bid to reverse the ban on him competing in the Tour de France by the race organisers, the rider's lawyer said on Tuesday.

The judge is expected to make a ruling next week, the lawyer, Jean-Louis Dupont, said.

The cyclist's legal team decided their case stood a better chance in a civil court rather than before the French sports tribunal, in the limited time available before the race starts at Monaco on July 4.

The 28-year-old sprint specialist was barred from the Tour by its organisers, the Amaury Sports Organisation (ASO), following his positive test for cocaine in April, even though the test was taken outside the sporting calendar.

Boonen and his Quick Step team said they would pursue all legal channels to contest this decision, saying they had been helped by a statement 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.

Boonen, who missed last year's Tour for similar reasons, still faces possible criminal charges in Belgium arising from the drug test on April 25 2009.

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

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