Team Quick Step Suspends Tom Boonen
Team Quick Step has just announced that former World Champion Tom Boonen has been suspended from all competitive activity effective immediately.
According to Belgian newspaper HLN.be Tom Boonen has tested positive for cocaine in a doping test conducted on April 27 following the Spring Classics where Boonen was so successful. This is the second time that Boonen has tested positive (or non-negative) for cocaine.
Tom Boonen first tested positive for cocaine about a year ago and was excluded from the 2008 Tour de France as a result of his drug abuse. The court in Turnhout ordered Boonen to refrain from using illegal substances in the future and the recent non-negative test for cocaine is, therefore, a violation of that order. Tom Boonen may now be facing actual sanctions for criminal offences.
Critical voices previously argued that Boonen was only spared from actual criminal sanctions the first time because of him being a major international - and national - star. The question remains if his popularity will prevent criminal sanctions the second time.
The team staff reports that it is working closely with team sponsors and will continue to update the situation during the weekend evaluating eventual further action.