Alexa

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.
Organizers of the Tour of Switzerland said Boonen was no longer welcome to start the race on Saturday.
"The Quick Step team is still invited but the tour director does not want Tom Boonen," said spokesman Kurt Henauer, adding that the organizers don't "want to have riders that take drugs."
However, the 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.
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. However Quick Step said Boonen and the team would make an announcement Wednesday.
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 in a car while under the influence of alcohol. Penalties for cocaine possession in Belgium can vary from three months to five years in jail along with fines of up to euro100,000 (US$155,000).
Boonen had been scheduled to race Wednesday in the Dutch Food Valley Classic Veenendaal, according to the Quick Step Web site.
___
Associated Press Writer Graham Dunbar in Geneva contributed to this report.


Updated : 2021-03-09 19:22 GMT+08:00