The organisers of the Tour de France, ASO, today confirmed that Tom Boonen will not participate in this year?s Tour de France.
The former world champion and triple Paris-Roubaix winner tested positive for cocaine in April, the second time in less than one year.
?It?s obviously impossible for Tom Boonen to start the Tour,? explained the Tour de France?s race director, Christian Prudhomme, to AFP.
?The most important thing for him, as it was said, particularly by his team, is to look after himself and to think about his future as a person rather than thinking about sport,? Prudhomme continued.
Boonen was also prohibited from starting last year?s Tour de France in light of his first positive test for the drug, although managed to avoid any official sanctioning.
FURTHER WOE FOR BOONEN
It has been a disastrous week for the 28-year-old Belgian; news emerged earlier in the week that he had also tested positive for cocaine and ecstasy in November 2007 in an out-of-competition test, making it in fact a third time.
Neither of the substances are prohibited outside of competition, as they carry no performance enhancing benefits, thus the laboratory in Belgium reported it as a negative test.
So far Boonen has managed to evade official sanctioning for his use of the drug.
He has been suspended indefinitely by his Quick Step team but the UCI today hinted that he may face sanctioning, not for cheating, but for bringing the name of the sport into disrepute.
Boonen may also face criminal charges, as the use of the drug is illegal in Belgium. It emerged yesterday that his Quick Step team are providing a programme of rehabilitation and testing for the troubled star, which may well work in his favour if he does have to appear in court once again.
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