Team yet to decide on Boonen participation in Tour
Quick Step cycling team has yet to decide if Belgian rider Tom Boonen will take part in Tour de France in July after he test positive for cocaine.11 June 2008
BRUSSELS - A decision has yet to be taken on whether Belgian rider Tom Boonen will be allowed to start Tour de France in July following his positive test for cocaine, Patrick Lefevere manager of his Quick Step cycling team said on Wednesday.
"The team maintains its confidence (in Boonen) ... it wouldn't be intelligent to act hastily," said Lefevere, who was seated beside Boonen during a press conference at Quick Step's headquarters at Wielsbeke, western Flanders.
In a statement read at the start of the press conference former world champion Boonen said he was "not perfect" and apologised for the pain caused to his team and his family.
He then announced that he intended to rest for a while.
The Paris-Roubaix winner tested positive during an out-of-competition control by the ministry of the Flemish Community, on May 26, three days before the start of the Tour of Belgium in which he competed.
Police carried out searches but found nothing to incriminate the cyclist.
But the Flemish Community, in charge of doping controls in the north of the country, said they will not be taking any action against Boonen, nor will he face International Cycling Union (UCI) sanctions.
"If the information is confirmed as it is an out-of-competition control UCI rules like those of the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) do not provide for any sanctions for cocaine," a UCI spokesman said on Tuesday.
However, organisers of the Tour of Switzerland which starts on Saturday moved immediately to bar Boonen from competing in their race.
The 27-year-old Belgian sprinter was caught up in a drug-taking scandal in December when cyclo-cross champion Tom Vanoppen said after he had tested positive for cocaine that Boonen had provided him with the drugs.
[AFP / Expatica]