Paris-Roubaix champion Tom Boonen, one of Belgium's biggest idols, is standing in hot water following the confirmation of a positive anti-doping control for cocaine on May 25. Though the control will likely not involve a suspension, it does not make it easy on the 27 year-old's Quick Step team, who are in the hunt for a new sponsor.
The test results, controlled by the Vlaamse Gemeeenschap (Flemish Community), were confirmed and will be sent to World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) and the International Cycling Union (UCI). Cocaine is forbidden within races, but as the control was taken three days before the start of the Tour of Belgium, where Boonen went on to win the final stage, he is likely to avoid a racing ban. Even though the Vlaamse Gemeeenschap will not issue a suspension, the UCI could impose a stop of up to two years.
It was reported that Boonen's parents' and girlfriend's homes were searched by police, and it is confirmed now that the authorities did not find any banned products.
Is Boonen – winner of two editions of the Paris-Roubaix and Ronde van Vlaanderen, and the 2005 World Championship title – too much of a liability as Team Manager Patrick Lefevere hunts for a new financial supporter? The team and Boonen are meeting today in light of the recent news and more details are expected soon.