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Tour de France

Quick Step Tour team hinges on Boonen’s fate

Quick Step has eight of its nine riders ready for the Tour de France, but the Belgian team is waiting to learn the fate of Tom Boonen. Boonen’s immediate future lies in the hands of the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS), which is expected to decide Tuesday if the recently crowned Belgian national champion can start the Tour.

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Quick Step has eight of its nine riders ready for the Tour de France, but the Belgian team is waiting to learn the fate of Tom Boonen.

Boonen’s immediate future lies in the hands of the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS), which is expected to decide Tuesday if the recently crowned Belgian national champion can start the Tour.

Boonen is persona non grata among Tour officials, who are trying to veto his presence at this year’s edition following his second cocaine positive inside a year. Boonen was nabbed by an out-of-competition control following his dramatic victory at Paris-Roubaix this spring.

While the drug is illegal, World Anti-Doping Agency rules do not list cocaine as a performance-enhancing substance unless it is used during competition.
Tour officials are trying to keep Boonen out of the Tour on the grounds that his presence would somehow tar the image of the race.

Since both tests were conducted outside of competition, Boonen did not violate UCI anti-doping rules and the UCI declined to pursue other charges based on the assertion that Boonen had brought disrepute to sport of cycling.

If Boonen is barred, Quick Step officials say, Aussie sprinter Allan Davis will take his place.

Quick Step for Tour de France: Carlos Barredo (Sp); Sylvain Chavanel (F); Steven De Jongh (Ned); Stijn Devolder (B); Jerome Pineau (F); Sebastien Rosseler (B); Matteo Tosatto (I); Jurgen Van De Walle (B).