Tom Boonen will hear this afternoon whether he will be riding in this year’s Tour de France, which starts on Saturday, July 4.

Boonen was told by Tour organisers Amaury Sport Organisation that he would not be welcome at this year’s race due to testing positive for cocaine.

The Belgian sprint star failed an out-of-competition test for the recreational drug in April, the second time he has failed a test for cocaine within a year. He was excluded from last year’s Tour for failing a test in May 2008.

Boonen lodged an appeal to a court in Nanterre, France, in an attempt to over-rule ASO’s decision and allow him to take part in this year’s Tour.

Boonen’s Quick Step team announced eight of its nine Tour riders yesterday. If Boonen cannot take part, his place will be filled by fellow sprinter Allan Davis.

A decision on whether Boonen can ride in the Tour or not is expected at 3pm central European time (2pm British time).

Boonen won the sprinters classification in the 2007 Tour de France and is a former world champion and three-times winner of Paris-Roubaix. He won the Belgian road race national championship on Sunday.

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

RELATED LINKS



Tour de France 2009 – Cycling Weekly’s full coverage



Quick Step reveals Tour team, but no Boonen, yet