Lefevere and Quick Step lawyers preparing to take on Tour organisers
Quick Step team manager Patrick Lefevere has expressed his anger at the news that Tom Boonen would not be allowed to participate in the upcoming Tour de France. He had hoped that Tour de France organiser Amaury Sport Organisation (ASO) would welcome Boonen into its event despite his recent problems with the recreational drug cocaine, however ASO officials preferred to protect the image of the world's biggest race and shut the door to Boonen.
Speaking to L'Equipe on Thursday, Lefevere had not yet received ASO's statement, and was both surprised and angry at the news of Boonen's exclusion. "Their answer is really 'no'? If that's what they want, then I will take them to court and it's going to go very far. As of now, I will turn off my phone and discuss with my lawyers which official stance we will present," said Lefevere.
Johnny Maeschalck, Quick Step team lawyer, was ready to get to work. "How can you judge or exclude someone on the basis of a report that doesn't even exist?," he asked. "That's the whole contradiction of this sport where, for some people, law does not count inside the sport's stadium. There is no reason – be it based on the law or on sports rules – to prohibit him from racing the Tour de France."
According to L'Equipe, Lefevere had thought that chances were good for his star rider to be included in the 2009 Tour roster because the International Cycling Union (UCI) had reportedly refrained from launching a disciplinary procedure "for damaging the image of cycling" against Boonen. A few days ago, ASO officials still said they would make their decision based on the UCI's stance in the case. Lefevere's only resort now will be to mount an appeal at the Chamber of Arbitration for Sport (CNOSF).