French sports minister says Boonen and Valverde not welcome at Tour de France

While Tour de France director Christian Prudhomme took a step down as he announced that ASO will follow the rules in the cases of Tom Boonen and Alejandro Valverde, French minister Bernard Laporte, the state secretary of sport, warned that the two riders are not welcome to take part in the Grande Boucle.

"The fight against drugs and the leading role of France on that matter is a priority," a press release from the Ministry stated. "As a matter of fact, it's clear that the presence of riders like Alejandro Valverde, who has been condemned by the Italian anti-doping authority, and Tom Boonen, who has tested positive for cocaine in April, is not welcome at the 2009 Tour de France."

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