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Ex-world champ Tom Boonen faces cocaine investigation

Ex-world champ Tom Boonen faces cocaine investigation

Former world cycling champion Tom Boonen is under investigation for cocaine possession in his native Belgium, local authorities said Tuesday.
Inge Delissen, spokeswoman at the prosecutors office in the northern city of Turnhout, said her office "had opened an investigation into the suspected possession of cocaine by Tom Boonen."
"An investigating judge has been tasked with a further study" of the case, she added.
The statement came after media reports that Boonen was questioned by authorities late Monday after testing positive for cocaine use.
The Quick Step team cyclist was not charged and was let go after questioning by authorities in Turnhout over the test results which came after a surprise out-of-competition doping test carried out in May.
International Cycling Union said Boonen was unlikely to face punishment from the sports governing body regardless of the results of the Belgian probe because the test came during a break from racing.
"It seems that it wouldn't be any violation of our rules because in out-of-competition tests cocaine is not a forbidden substance, for the WADA Code and the UCI anti-doping rules," UCI spokesman Enrico Carpani said from Switzerland.
"There are time limits for out-of-competition tests. Three days before a race is considered out of competition. If you take cocaine one day before a race you will test positive," he added.
Carpani said the UCI had not been officially notified of the drugs test.
The World Anti-Doping Agency classifies cocaine as a stimulant on the official prohibited list but it is only prohibited if the substance is taken in-competition, WADA spokesman Frederic Donze said in a telephone interview.
Belgian media reports said investigators also carried out a search at the house of Boonen's parents but found no drugs.
His team declined comment on the investigation or the test, which was carried out by regional doping authorities in Flanders. The test was conducted on May 25 between two races, the Paris-Roubaix and the Tour of Belgium, when Boonen was taking time off, reports said.
The cyclist ran into trouble with police last week when he was caught speeding while under the influence of alcohol.
Boonen is scheduled to race again on Saturday, leading the Quick Step team at the nine-day Tour of Switzerland, an event on the UCI Pro Tour calendar.
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Associated Press Writer Graham Dunbar in Geneva contributed to this report.