Boonen to return in Dauphiné First Edition Cycling News, May 26, 2009
Tom Boonen will return to racing in the Dauphiné Libéré, June 7-14. Team Quick Step had placed him on inactive status following his positive test for cocaine this spring.
Team manager Patrick Lefevere told the SID news agency that he had spoken with race organiser Charly Mottet. "He told me that he would follow the UCI's rules. Tom didn't dope, he hasn't been punished. He has other problems."
Lefevere further hopes to take his top sprinter to the Tour de France. Christian Prudhomme, head of that race, has already said that he will not allow Boonen to start there. Boonen has said that he will go to court to force his participation.
The UCI cannot challenge Boonen on doping charges, as the use of cocaine out of competition is not prohibited under sporting rules. However, the UCI said that he would have to face a disciplinary action for damaging the sport's reputation and could receive a one-to-six month suspension. Boonen must also answer to the Belgian court system. (SW)
LET US ALL WHO HAVE SUPPORTED HIM SO FAR, CONTINUE WITH THE SUPPORT.
He's only a human like the rest of us and has ups and downs just like we all do. This is one of a downs, but he'll get up too. Let us stay by his side and show that no matter what we still love him and cheer for him.
Best wishes and hope, Tom, you will get out of your problems very soon and fast! Just be among people who love you and are by your side no matter what and the rest, let them think and say what they want! We will always support you!
Boonen puts blame on alcohol problem First Edition Cycling News, May 10, 2009
Tom Boonen says he may have used cocaine on an afternoon when he had too much to drink. However, he claims to have had a black-out and does not know what happened.
"I do not think I have a problem with cocaine, I have problems when I drink too much. 364 days per year I am good. But if I drink too much, it's exactly like I change in my head," Boonen told Belgian Radio1.
The Quick Step sprinter was suspended by his team Saturday after it was announced that he had tested positive a second time for cocaine.
"I need help," he told sporza.be. "Someone should teach me to understand what happens when I drink too much."
Looking to the future, he said, "Whether I will continue to be a cyclist? That is the least of my concerns."
The former World Champion received support from Lance Armstrong. According to nieuwsblad.be, the American said, "Tom must look at himself and and say, 'I have a problem, how do I solve this?' He is not the only one in the world who has to resist temptation. I wish him the best and hope everything goes well.."
Boonen suspended following second cocaine positive Cycling News Flash, May 9, 2009
Tom Boonen has been suspended by team Quick Step following his second positive control for cocaine, taken on April 27, in Belgium following the Spring Classics. The 2005 World Champion could face criminal charges for violating the conditions of his suspended sentence for cocaine use.
Quick Step announced this afternoon the Boonen's suspension "from all competitive activity effective immediately." In its statement, the team said, that it is "working closely with team sponsors and will continue to update the situation during the weekend, evaluating eventual further action."
Boonen, winner of Paris-Roubaix in April, first tested positive for cocaine a year ago.
The Vlaamse Gemeenschap ("Flemish Community") received news of Boonen's second positive control on Tuesday. Since it was an out-of-competition test, it cannot take action – cocaine usage is subject to sporting sanctions only during competition. The results are now in the hands of the Turnhout court, which had acted on Boonen's earlier cocaine case.
Police searched Boonen's house on Friday morning in relation to the news. He cooperated in the search and was questioned.
Boonen's lawyer Luc Deleu confirmed to Sporza.be said that his client is "extremely depressed. Nothing can be denied. This is a legal and human problem."
Following Boonen's positive test last year, he was excluded from the Tour de France. Team Quick Step declared that it would forego additional punishment as it was a "personal issue".
Boonen did not confess to the cocaine use but apologised for the "negative" news. He later claimed that someone must have spiked his drink at an outdoor cafe.
On February 3, the court in Turnhout ruled that although Boonen had used cocaine, he would not face any punishment. It found that his exclusion from the Tour de Suisse and the Tour de France was punishment enough.
It issued a ruling ordering him to pay court costs and to refrain from using such drugs in the future. His new positive test is thus apparently a violation of that order, leaving him potentially open to criminal sanctions.
"Tom is wise enough to know what the consequences might be," Deleu said. "The risk is that the suspension is revoked, with disastrous consequences."
"Personally it is a much bigger problem. The image of Boonen has been soiled and there is the chance that he may miss the Tour de France again." (SW)