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ASO rejects Boonen for Tour

By:
Daniel Simms
Published:
June 18, 2009, 17:39 BST,
Updated:
June 18, 2009, 20:48 BST
Edition:
First Edition Cycling News, June 19, 2009 First Edition Cycling News, Friday, June 19, 2009
Tom Boonen (Quick Step) took the lead in the sprint competition.

Tom Boonen (Quick Step) took the lead in the sprint competition.

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Organizer says Quick Step sprinter's image is incompatible with the Tour

The Tour de France organizers Amaury Sport Organisation (ASO) have issued a decree: Tom Boonen is not welcome at the Tour this year. If the ASO has its way, the Belgian sprinter will sit out the race for the second consecutive year after testing positive out of competition for cocaine.

The ASO said it "can only note that the image and the behavior of Tom Boonen are incompatible with the image of the Tour de France and that which an exceptional champion like him has to convey."

In order to "preserve its reputation", the Tour bosses have refused to allow the Quick Step rider into the race, despite assurances from his team that they will take legal action to force the race to accept him.

Boonen's positive tests are not considered doping offenses since cocaine use is not banned out of competition by the World Anti-doping Agency's code.

Boonen can appeal the ASO's decision to the Chamber of Arbitration for Sport (CNOSF).

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