Friday, July 3, 2009

The long blurry white line

(Pre Tour Diary – 18 June 2009)

Belgium’s biggest sporting star and three-time Paris-Roubaix winner Tom “Tommeke” Boonen, would be feeling a little ripped off right now –he’ll be punished by missing the Tour for doing something he actually didn’t get to really enjoy, or at least remember. Either that or it wasn’t very good quality and he’ll be looking for a new supplier. Just jokes. This from (via AFP) :

"Tom Boonen seemingly did not ingest cocaine, the substance for which he tested positive six weeks ago for the second time in a year, Belgian media Thursday quoted a panel of independent experts as saying."

Ah, the ‘ol Bill Clinton “I didn’t inhale” marijuana defence?

"The panel based their conclusion on the small quantity of the substance found in the Belgian racer's hair samples examined by the Belgian University of Louvain and the University of Strasbourg in France, Sporza television reported. The former world champion has stated that the day before the test he had had a blackout following a drinking session and could not remember anything… The Belgian's team has sent the results of the hair analysis to the UCI and to ASO, organisers of the Tour de France, in the hope that he may now be allowed to compete."

No doubt he probably set up the lines, rolled up the $20 euro note then passed out on the table and got it in his hair then. Yeah, it was a silly mistake….again….but it’s not fair he’ll be missing the Tour and not just because I love watching him race and I think he’s a bit of a cutie.

The UCI (International Cycling Union, the sport’s world governing body for the uninitiated) in the end didn’t sanction him because it was an out of competition recreational drug, so why should the ASO? So yet again the ASO puts itself and its event above the sport? It tries to ‘protect the brand’ from some things and therefore takes the high moral ground, but on others, it takes it down the very low road.

His team and he are appealing so stay tuned.

3/7/09 UPDATE: this appeal is going down to the wire but it looks to now be over as SBS’ Mike Tomalaris tweeted this about two hours ago “Just spoke to Alby Davis (Australia’s Allan Davis)- he looked happy as Boonen's replacement at the official Tour launch.” This at too. Caption in photo says he's hanging around in Monaco. Is there really that much difference between him racing and press coverage of him now hanging around the Tour anyway?
Also, check out this shot..

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