French court won't judge Boonen case

Belgian running out of time for Tour de France start

Tom Boonen's bid to overturn a ban on him competing in next month's Tour de France has hit another barrier with the decision by a court in Nanterre, France not to hear his case.

The ex-world road race champion from Belgium was barred from the Tour by its organisers Amaury Sports Organisation (ASO) following his positive test for cocaine in April, even though the drug is not a banned substance in cycling.

The cyclist's legal team decided their case stood a better chance in a civil court rather than before the French sports tribunal, in the limited time available before the race starts at Monaco on July 4.

But a court in Nanterre ruled that it did not have jurisdiction to hear the case as the agreement between ASO and competing teams was that any disputes should go before the French Olympic Committee's arbitration panel.

A statement from the Quick.Step team said they would now take the case before this body.

Boonen, who missed last year's Tour for similar reasons, still faces possible criminal charges in Belgium arising from the drug test on April 25 2009.

Boonen first tested positive for cocaine in May last year, although he escaped any criminal charges on the condition he would stay away from any future drugs scandal inside a three-year period.

© AFP & BikeRadar 2009

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