Boonen proclaims innocence, says he was trapped Latest Cycling News, June 16, 2008
Tom Boonen claims that the cocaine for which he tested positive must have been put into a drink he had at a bar. Meanwhile, the Quick Step sprinter was questioned again Saturday morning by the Belgian federal judicial police.
In his original questioning by the police, according to the Gazet van Antwerpen, Boonen proclaimed his innocence and claimed that someone must have slipped something into his drink, in an attempt to trap him. However, his press conference the next day made investigators suspicious, when he apologised for his actions. Since this did not seem to match the story that the sprinter had previously told them, he was subsequently invited by the investigating judge for another session of questioning.
The 27 year-old met with the police Saturday morning in Turnhout. According to the Gazet van Antwerpen, he repeated his statement that had been tricked and gave more details. He said that he and his girlfriend Lore were at the bar "Que Pasa" in his hometown of Mol, where they had drinks outside on the terrace. Shortly thereafter, he felt ill and left the bar to go home.
He further told the police that the statement he read at his press conference had been written by his lawyer.
At his press conference last week, Boonen had said that he would take a short break from racing. He had been scheduled to ride the Tour de Suisse, which started Saturday, but was excluded by the race organisers. Now, however, he is scheduled on Tuesday to start the Ster Elektrotoer, which had said that he was welcome.
In further news, team manager Patrick Lefevere and sponsor Quick Step CEO Frans De Cock are meeting today with the Amaury Sports Organisation, which manages the Tour de France and has also excluded Boonen from its race. De Cock has said that the sponsor wants Boonen to appear in the race for financial reasons.(SW)