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Boonen banned from Tour de France

TOUR de France organizers have banned former world champion Tom Boonen from next month's race after the Belgian rider tested positive for cocaine for the second time in less than year.

Boonen's latest positive test was carried out in April, with the 28-year-old Quick Step team rider having already tested positive for the same drug in May 2008 -- and been similarly banned by Tour organizers from last year's event.

"Following Tom Boonen's recent test, after a first test in 2008, the Tour de France, after meeting Quick Step team representatives, can only state that the image and behavior of Tom Boonen do not match the Tour de France's image or the one that should be promoted by such an exceptional champion," the Amaury Sport Organization said in a statement.

ASO said that Boonen, who was resting between the spring classics and the preparation races for the Tour when he tested positive, was entitled to take an appeal against their decision to the French Olympic Committee.

Despite the Tour ban, the ruling International Cycling Union said on Thursday it would not take any sanctions against the rider.

"The UCI Management Committee has decided not to institute disciplinary proceedings against Mr Tom Boonen for having allegedly taken cocaine out of competition, after the Belgian rider supplied a number of elements in his defence," the UCI said in a statement.

Boonen only resumed cycling earlier this month and raced in the Dauphine Libere criterium last week.


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