Quick Step’s Tom Boonen has been banned from competing in the Tour de France due to his positive drug test for cocaine, organizers ASO (Amaury Sport Organisation) announced on Thursday.
The 28-year-old tested positive for cocaine in April, less than a year after he first tested positive for the drug in May 2008.
The three-time winner of Paris-Roubaix may also face disciplinary proceedings by UCI.
Boonen’s team have backed him and previously promised to provide legal support if he was refused entry to the Tour.
The UCI said earlier this month it would not be able to complete any disciplinary process before the July 4-26 race, meaning that Boonen, “according to the regulations” would be free to race.
“The sporting and economic damage for team and sponsors (which would arise from) the absence of Tom in the biggest race of the year are incalculable,” said Quick Step manager Patrick Lefevere.
Lefevere had threatened to demand millions of Euros in compensation if his star rider was excluded.
Strangely enough, the ASO announcement happened to coincide with the UCI’s decision not to pursue disciplinary action against him for the positive cocaine test.
“The UCI Management Committee has decided not to institute disciplinary proceedings against Mr Tom Boonen for having allegedly taken cocaine out of competition, after the Belgian rider supplied a number of elements in his defence,” the statement from the UCI noted.