A spokesperson for the public prosecutor in Turnhout, Belgium, said on Monday that a decision on whether Tom Boonen will face criminal charges would be made on January 6. The 2005 world champion may face court for violating drug laws after testing positive for cocaine earlier this year in an out-of-competition test.
It's uncertain that the 27-year-old Team Quick Step sprinter, who missed the Tour de France due to his infraction, may receive a penalty if he does indeed face court. Possible punishments include a prison term of three months to five years and a fine of 1000 to 100,000 euro.
Boonen's positive test was announced in June and Tour de France organisers let it quickly be known that he was not welcome at the their event. He reiterated his innocence, claiming someone must have spiked his drink at an outdoor cafe shortly before the doping control. However, anonymous sources from within the investigation have said that hair tests have shown he used cocaine "often" over a period of months. (SW)