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Boonen OUT of TDF by ASO

Boonen's apology over cocaine positive won't get him into the Tour


Belgium's Tom Boonen, who has tested positive for cocaine, will not be starting next month's Tour de France, race director Christian Prudhomme told AFP on Wednesday.


The news came shortly after Boonen issued an apology, saying he was sorry for the pain his recent behavior has caused his team and his family. Boonen read a prepared statement at a press conference at his Quick Step team’s headquarters in Wielsbeke, Belgium, adding that he plans to take a break from the sport for a short time.


While not directly admitting use of cocaine, Boonen appeared contrite; the 27-year-old, who is something of a superstar in his native Belgium, conceded he is “not perfect.”


Boonen has been the subject of two investigations regarding alleged cocaine use after cyclocrosser Tom Vanoppen tested positive for the drug in January and told police he had received it from the Quick Step sprinter. He also recently lost his driver’s license after two separate traffic stops for speeding, the most recent of which also showed a blood alcohol level beyond the legal limit.


"I'm not going to defend myself here today, but I hurt my family, my friends and my team and I apologize," said Boonen, who also has been barred from competing in the Tour of Switzerland starting on Saturday.


"I've been in the news recently in a negative way. I'm not perfect and I'll accept the consequences. I am now going to get some rest and I can count on the confidence of my team. I hope that the fans will continue to support me. They will soon be able to count on my unreserved commitment."


Boonen shared the spotlight with team manager Patrick Lefevere, who said the team "maintains its confidence" in Boonen.
"It wouldn't be intelligent to act hastily," he added.


Race director Prudhomme was unmoved, however.
"As far as we are concerned, Tom Boonen is automatically ruled out of the Tour de France as soon as the information concerning his case has been confirmed,” he said, adding that he had spoken to Boonen and Lefevere to inform them of his decision.


Lefevere made an effort to distinguish his star rider’s behavior from the "real doping problems," which have occurred in the Tour in recent years, noting that Boonen’s difficulties were of a "private" nature.
And Prudhomme agreed that the positive was "not a case of performances being improved; this is something that has happened in a social sphere well outside of sport."


But he added: "Tom Boonen is a big champion but a big champion must also be exemplary. The integrity of the Tour, and of the teams participating in the Tour, could be harmed."


Reporters, meanwhile, asked Lefevere about the good-conduct charter signed by all teams participating in the Tour. The team director said he believed that it was sometimes a little "heavy," without saying whether he thought it applied to Boonen's case.


The charter stipulates that each team participating in the Tour gives their commitment not to field a rider who could damage the image of the race.
Paris-Roubaix winner Boonen 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.
While Boonen’s positive prompted Tour of Switzerland organizers to bar him from their race, he is not likely to face any general cycling-related sanctions because cocaine is among a class of drugs whose use is only banned during competition. But he could still face criminal penalties — under Belgian law, Boonen could face between three months and five years in prison and a fine of up to 100,000 euros (155,000 dollars) for using cocaine.
Boonen had been touted as among the favorites for the Tour’s points jersey.



The race begins in Brest on July 5 and ends in Paris on July 27.
 

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Place bets: Mark Cavendish, Robbie McEwen or Daniele Bennati for the green jersey?
 

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Is Cavendish going to try and finish the Tour though? A few weeks ago he wasn't even going to ride because it was too close to the Olympics, then he said he'd ride the first week or so because his form was so good that he'd have a good chance of winning stages. He still wants that Madison gold, so I don't think he'll go for the green jersey. Bennati is my bet.
 

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Jokull said:
Is Cavendish going to try and finish the Tour though? A few weeks ago he wasn't even going to ride because it was too close to the Olympics, then he said he'd ride the first week or so because his form was so good that he'd have a good chance of winning stages. He still wants that Madison gold, so I don't think he'll go for the green jersey. Bennati is my bet.

good point, forgot about the Olympics.

Bennati is good choice
 

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no, it's just lame. The ASO is an event organizer, not a governing body. They shouldn't be allowed to make up arbitrary rules about who can and cannot participate. Boonen is not subject to any governing body suspensions-if a rider is cleared by these to compete, event organizers shouldn't have any say.
 

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stevesbike said:
no, it's just lame. The ASO is an event organizer, not a governing body. They shouldn't be allowed to make up arbitrary rules about who can and cannot participate. Boonen is not subject to any governing body suspensions-if a rider is cleared by these to compete, event organizers shouldn't have any say.
that approach didn't work out so well last year with cow-chicken.
 

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Boonen = fail. :(
 

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stevesbike said:
no, it's just lame. The ASO is an event organizer, not a governing body. They shouldn't be allowed to make up arbitrary rules about who can and cannot participate. Boonen is not subject to any governing body suspensions-if a rider is cleared by these to compete, event organizers shouldn't have any say.
This is a sport that needs a strong riders' union.
 

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stevesbike said:
no, it's just lame. The ASO is an event organizer, not a governing body. They shouldn't be allowed to make up arbitrary rules about who can and cannot participate. Boonen is not subject to any governing body suspensions-if a rider is cleared by these to compete, event organizers shouldn't have any say.
The Tour this year is not going to run under the UCI. ASO has its own rules this year and can do what ever they want. see: http://velonews.com/article/77019

If the ASO can get rid of enough riders maybe a Frenchmen could win :rolleyes:
 

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stevesbike said:
no, it's just lame. The ASO is an event organizer, not a governing body. They shouldn't be allowed to make up arbitrary rules about who can and cannot participate. Boonen is not subject to any governing body suspensions-if a rider is cleared by these to compete, event organizers shouldn't have any say.
Actually ASO is a business and should be allowed to take whatever steps it feels are necessary to protect its product's value, whether or not any of us agree with them.

When the governing body starts assuming the financial risk for organizing and promoting events then they should have sole say in the manner in which an event is organized.
 

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Maybe ASO should realize there are no perfect cyclists, as in there are no perfect human beings. There is this expectation that cyclists need to be perfect. You get caught j-walking and thats it. If this were baseball or football the players unions would shut the games down. Unfortunately cycling has no rider union that does anything

At this point, the sport is beyond salvageable. Put a folk in it, pro cycling is officially dead.
 

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Boonen and ASO

No Tolerance is just that. Boonen shouldn't be at the TdF after testing positive for cocaine, I don't care how big a star he is, he shouldn't be given a free pass. I applaud ASO's decision not to let him ride...it's about the only thing I'll applaud ASO for. Boonen took himself out of the TdF, ASO didn't. If I remember right, Jan Ullrich sat out of the TdF for smoking pot. Boonen's, "Ban from the Tour", shouldn't be a surprise, it should be expected. This is about Boonen and his bad decision(s), not how stupid or lame ASO is.
 
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