Belgian laminate flooring company Quick.Step wants Tom Boonen to ride the Tour de France as part of the Quick.Step team.
Boonen was recently barred from starting the race by Tour organisers ASO after he tested positive for cocaine. But Quick.Step has already prepared a big publicity campaign for its products to run in France during the Tour with Boonen in the lead role. The company has already purchased the advertising time on French television.
Quick Step CEO Frans De Cock told the Belga press agency that he had asked Boonen privately after Wednesday's press conference whether he still wanted to ride the Tour. "He said explicitly, 'yes, I want to'. So I will do everything I can to make that happen."
De Cock will meet with Tour organisers this week to discuss the matter.
"For a cycling sponsor, the Tour means half of the return for the year's investment," said De Cock. "I need Tom Boonen. I think that Quick Step has contributed a lot to the sport."