Boonen fined for cocaine use
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Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Boonen fined for cocaine use

by VeloNation Press at 8:43 AM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Doping
Belgium's top cyclist, Tom Boonen, will be able to avoid criminal charges relating to his use of cocaine by paying a 1000 euro fine, the public prosecutor in Turnhout said Wednesday.

The court said if Boonen, who has now been swept up in controversy with his use of the recreational drug twice, paid the fine the case would be closed.

The public prosecutor told Het Nieuwsblad, "We consider Boonen as just another consumer of drugs, not as a famous sportsman of whom an example should be made."

Cocaine is not considered a performance-enhancing drug, and while it is illegal, Boonen was not punished on sporting grounds.

Boonen tested positive publicly for the first time in April 2008, which caused him to be banned from last year's Tour de France, unable to defend his green jersey win of 2007.

His second public positive test was in May 2009, but this time the former world champion fought the ban imposed by Tour de France organizers, and was granted an eleventh hour reprieve by the courts.

In October of 2007, when living in Monaco, the Belgian 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.

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