Tom Boonen 2008 Qatar

Tom Boonen has been named in the Quick Step for the five-day Star Elektrotoer stage race in Holland that starts on Tuesday.

Boonen was told he was not welcome at the Tour of Switzerland after he tested positive for cocaine last week but the Dutch organisers seem happy to have him in their race. Boonen will face Britain?s Mark Cavendish (High Road) in the sprints, while the race begins with a 6km prologue time trial in Schijndel on Tuesday afternoon.

Quick Step confirmed Boonen?s presence when they announced the line-up for the race on Monday. Also riding are Wilfried Cretskens, Ad Engels, Mauro Facci, Kevin Hulsmans, Kevin Seeldraeyers, Wouter Weylandt, Maarten Wynants.

The Quick Step team hope that riding the Star Elektrotoer will help Boonen and ease the media pressure on him and the team after the news of his positive test.


The organisers of the Tour de France quickly announced they will not allow Boonen to ride in France in July. However according to reports in Belgian media, Quick Step team manager Patrick Lefevere is trying to convince them to change their minds.

Lefevere was in Paris on Monday to talk to Tour director Christian Prudhomme. According to Belgian sports television Sporza, the talks went well but there was no initial change of heart from the Tour organisers.

"We got no white smoke, but no black smoke either,? Lefevere said.

?The talks went well. The important thing is that we were able to explain our case.?

Last week Lefevere hoped the door had not been totally closed on Boonen?s chances of still competing in the Tour de France but after the meeting he refused to speculate if Boonen still has a chance of being in Brest on July 5 for the start of the Tour.

?I?m not going to comment on if a door is open, closed or even slightly ajar,? Lefevere said.

"We have no deadline for a decision. We will now let ASO make up their mind.?


Boonen excluded from Tour de France by organiser

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