Just two hours before the official Tour de France entry list closes, Tom Boonen (Quick Step) has been told he can ride in this year’s race following a decision by the French Arbitration for Sport (Chambre arbitrale du sport du CNOSF).

The Tour de France organisers did not want Boonen in their race after he tested positive for cocaine for a second time in two years in April. However, the test was done out of competition and so cannot be used to ban an athlete from competition.

Speaking to the Associated Press news agency, Boonen’s lawyer Jean-Louis Dupont said “The ruling is: we win. Tom Boonen will ride in the Tour.”

Boonen’s Quick Step team vowed to fight all the way this year after leaving Boonen at home in 2008. The CNOSF heard the case in Paris on Thursday and gave their verdict Friday lunchtime.

Tour de France organisers, ASO, accepted that Boonen could ride in a brief official statement.

“The management of the Tour de France believes that, considering the great champion that Tom Boonen is, he will relish the opportunity that has been given to him and that he will have an exemplary attitude during the event,” the statement said.

Boonen underwent the pre-race blood test on Thursday morning and so has done everything required to start Saturday’s time trial.

Boonen was absent from the stage during Thursday’s Tour de France team presentation in Monaco, his place in Quick Step’s line-up being taken by Australian team-mate Allan Davis. Davis would also have taken Boonen’s place in the race, but must now sit it out.

Boonen is set to hold a press conference in Monaco at 2:30 local time.

The 2009 Tour de France starts on Saturday, July 4, in Monaco and finishes in Paris on Sunday, July 26.

Tour de France 2009 – Cycling Weekly’s full coverage

  • Nathan Healey

    Common sense prevails. In an imperfect world Boonen is no different to any one of us who walk this Earth. To pluck one tiny aspect of Boonen’s behavior and make it his reality is insane. An indiscretion that Boonen allowed himself, who for reasons of his own self, chose to experience will stand him hopefully in good light as we all move forward. Many of us are absolutely thankful that common sense has prevailed and Boonen is rightfully lining up to once again to make the Tour-de-France once again more fascinating, as all the worlds best have overcome all obstacles to be there. And let him who has not fallen on his/her own sword, as some of the above views indicate, cast the first stone.

  • Daz

    Cant wait to watch Cav kick his butt!

  • Ed

    i However dont think its a bad decision as it is obviously good for the sport to have a rider like Boonen and he didnt take any performance enhancing drugs, so whats your problem?

  • Paul

    I agree an outrageous decision. I am however puzzled as the tour rules used to say that the organisers had the right to invite or not invite who they wanted to. The tour is in effect a private event so why do the organisers have to abide by this absurd decision.

  • Baz

    This is an outrageous decision and runs counter to everything being done by many to clean up the sport.