Bouygues Telecom ends Boonen negotiations First Edition Cycling News, June 11, 2008
French ProTour team Bouygues Telecom had shown interest in signing Tom Boonen for the 2009 season, however the team has called an immediate end to discussions. The squad said its policy is clear and that it will not employ a rider who has tested positive for cocaine, as Boonen did in a May 25 test which was revealed yesterday.
"Red card, end of the negotiations," team manager Jean-René Bernaudeau said. "We have a very strict policy in our team. Anybody who's got problems with drugs isn't welcome in our team. If the news regarding Boonen is confirmed, there's no way he can join us."
Boonen's contract with Quick Step ends at the end of this year and the rider known as Tornado Tom has been put on the market by his agent Paul de Geyter. Bouygues Telecom was very interested in recruiting the Paris-Roubaix winner, with its French mobile phone network backer in the process of expanding throughout Europe in association with T-Mobile. The addition of one of Belgium's favourite sons would have given the company a good marketing platform to work off in Belgium.
Bouygues Telecom recently extended their contract with the Vendée based team for the 2009 and 2010 seasons. Quick Step boss Patrick Lefevere on the other hand is struggling to secure new sponsors in Belgium. News that Boonen might be joining a French team was likely to wake up the potential sponsors in Belgium, should they be willing to keep the prodigy at a Belgian squad.