Quick Step team manager Patrick Lefevere has revealed star rider Tom Boonen has taken on the financial fallout of his cocaine blunder, which led to his non-participation at the Tour de France this year. The respected team manager believes the impact on Boonen has been notable and the rider has learnt from his mistakes.
"I spoke to Tom about his blunder," he told HLN. "The message has certainly been delivered and Tom has learnt his lesson. This is unacceptable for a top sports man.
With Lefevere's team already hunting for new sponsors for 2009, Boonen's actions have had an impact on the team financially. Lefevere refused to go into details surrounding the matter, but admitted Boonen had been fined.
"This has cost the team money, so Tom also received a fine," Lefevere said. "He has felt it in his wallet and he is not proud of it. The issue was resolved internally and for me the matter is now closed. Tom will not make anymore blunders."
Boonen was not welcome at the Tour as a direct result of the violation. With the race organiser pumping a message to athletes performance enhancing drugs would not be tolerated, it also wanted to avoid connection with Boonen's recreational drug incident.
"Publicity wise it was a very meager Tour de France," admitted Lefevere. "How much that really cost us, I don't know, but it is a lot."
Lefevere was also critical of the Tour organisers and what he believed to be a double standard. "Stefan Schumacher won two time trials and wore the yellow jersey, but he was caught for the same offence [last year], why was he allowed to ride?" he said. "Ultimately Tom was allowed to start, but under ridiculous conditions. I remained discreet, but they went too far," he concluded.