Home News Belgium’ Boonen admits drink and drug “problem”

Belgium’ Boonen admits drink and drug “problem”

Published on 11/05/2009
BRUSSELS – The cyclist, currently suspended by his Quick Step team, admitted on Belgian TV show Sporza that he had a problem with alcohol and would "now seek help".

"The night before the drug test, I went out," said the recent winner of Paris-Roubaix. "I stayed for a while and I drank. At some stage I must have taken something. Then I had a blackout."

"I think I have a problem," Boonen, the 2005 world champion, continued. "After spending three to four months working, when I go out I probably over-step the mark and I become someone else.

"For 364 days a year, it’s perfect. I try to be an exemplary citizen. But the day that I drink too much, something that I don’t do often, I change. I will now seek help.

"I’m not a murderer but that’s how people see me," added the rider, who hopes his aberration will not have repercussions for his Quick Step team.

"For the time being, I’m more concerned by what happens to the team than by what happens to me," he said. "At the moment my future as a cyclist is the last of my concerns."

Boonen failed an out-of-competition drug test for cocaine at the end of April, having tested positive for the same drug in similar cirumstances in May 2008.

The sprint specialist will not, in principle, face sporting sanctions because cocaine is not on the list of cycling’s banned substances for non-competing athletes, but he could find himself open to criminal proceedings.