Cycling: Quick Step say Boonen needs treatment but stand by him

12th May 2009, Comments 0 comments

Quick Step cycling team bosses have urged Tom Boonen to have treatment after his second positive test for cocaine but added they would stand by him while he serves a suspension.

BRUSSELS - Boonen, Belgium's top cyclist, is facing up to what could be a premature end to his impressive career after testing positive a second time for cocaine.

Boonen, a 28-year-old one-day specialist who was crowned world champion in 2005, tested positive for cocaine two weeks ago - only a fortnight after winning the prestigious Paris-Roubaix one-day classic for the third time.

It was barely a year after he tested positive for the recreational drug for the first time, in May 2008.

A team statement revealed that "a guidance plan will be drawn up" to help the racer, adding that Boonen's problem "does not concern an addiction in the true sense of the word" but involved "an intelligent young man" who required specialist counselling for "sporadic" use of the drug.

The team said that guidance was likely to be required for a year and added that the guidance team to be put in place would carry out a urine test fortnightly with a registered laboratory conducting three annual hair analyses.

"In due course it will be communicated when Tom is ready to get back into competition," the statement concluded.

In the meantime the team said after officials met in Wevelgem, Belgium, that Boonen is suspended and that, that being the case, "a financial settlement is being worked out" to sanction him.

Boonen told Belgian television at the weekend he had a drink problem which had led him to try drugs and vowed to seek help.


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