Nanterre court to settle affair four days before Tour start
Tom Boonen will be at the national championships in Aywaille, Belgium, this weekend without knowing whether he will participate in the Tour de France starting one week later. A court case's verdict between team Quick Step and Tour organiser Amaury Sports Organisation (ASO) is expected 15:00 Tuesday.
The court in Nanterre, France, is hearing the case.
Tour organisers asked Boonen to stay home after he tested positive for cocaine a third time. Officials tested him out of competition on April 27.
Team Quick Step bases Boonen's defence around the fact that out of competition cocaine use an offense resulting in a disciplinary procedure. The team said that organiser ASO would have allowed him to race, but former French Secretary for Sports, Bernard Laporte, pushed ASO to exclude Boonen.
ASO argued that the Nanterre court is not competent to judge the affair. It said it should French Olympic Committee court (CNOSF) according to a contract between the organiser and the teams.
ASO's lawyer Jacques Nataf said there would be damage to the Tour's image should Boonen participate.
"This is not a doping affair," said Nataf in court Thursday. "But when Tom Boonen, who is a very famous champion, wins a sprint in the Tour de France ... the whole world sees it."
Boonen, 28, won the Paris-Roubaix for a third time this year and has six career stage wins at the Tour.
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