Boonen’s case to be heard Thursday in France

Will the Belgian be allowed to start the Tour July 4?

QuickStep's Belgian sprinter Tom Boonen will appear in French court Thursday.

Belgium’s former world road race champion Tom Boonen is to appear in Paris, France at a court on Thursday, in a bid to reverse the ban on him competing in the Tour de France by the race organisers, the rider’s lawyer said on Tuesday.


The judge is expected to make a ruling next week, the lawyer, Jean-Louis Dupont, said.

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.

The 28-year-old sprint specialist was barred from the Tour by its organisers, the Amaury Sports Organisation (ASO), following his positive test for cocaine in April, even though the test was taken outside the sporting calendar.

Boonen and his Quick Step team said they would pursue all legal channels to contest this decision, saying they had been helped by a statement by the sport’s governing body the International Cycling Union (UCI).

In it the UCI said they would not be taking punitive action over the six-time Tour de France stage winner’s positive test.

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.

What do you think: Tour or no Tour for Boonen?


© 2009 AFP & BikeRadar