Cyclist Tom Boonen, whom you’ve probably never heard of before, has a bit of a cocaine problem. Or so he’s told, anyway; he can’t quite remember. That’s because for as substantial a problem as three positive tests for cocaine goes, it’s the method by which he got to that drug usage that’s the bigger problem: sweet mama booze!
Yes, it appears that Boonen isn’t necessarily copping to knowingly using cocaine in the instances where he tested positive (only two of which broke cycling rules; the third came during the off-season, where it’s actually not illegal to test positive for the booger sugar). He is copping to getting so drunk he doesn’t remember what he did, then having cocaine in his system, so we can probably do the math on this one.
From CYCLING NEWS:
Quick Step’s Tom Boonen says counselling for his excessive drinking has progressed well. Talking with a counsellor “really helps” he said on the Dutch TV programme Holland Sport this week. Team manager Patrick Lefevere has attributed Boonen’s problems to his competitive spirit and is confident that the rider will overcome the problems.
The Quick Step rider blamed his positive doping controls on his drinking; indicating that he drank so much that he did not know what later happened. “I was very drunk. I do not know what happened, but the next day I tested positive for cocaine,” he said.
Boonen escaped sanction from the International Cycling Union (UCI) and World anti-doping agency (WADA), as cocaine use is not prohibited when used out of competition. However, he was suspended by his team after the positive control was announced in the spring, and he did not race from April 12 to June 7.
Pointing the finger at drinking on this one seems to be a dicey proposition - especially if Boonen likes drinking. If he’s got the bottle under control and enjoys the yay every now and then, he’s throwing more of his recreation under the bus than he needs to.
On the other hand, if he’s actually telling the truth, this would be the only right move. After all, if it turns into a vehicle by which he starts failing drug tests, he doesn’t get to do it anymore. At least you’d hope so, anyway, otherwise the pattern continues unabated and his team probably loses all patience and gives up.
Fortunately, we’ve got these things called “hair samples,” and the picture they paint of Boonen’s usage is - as positive cocaine tests go - largely positive:
Quick Step later accepted Boonen’s explanation that his positive test had come as a result of contact with other cocaine users, rather than direct ingestion of the drug.
“Hair samples proved that there was no cocaine in his system for more than four months,” said Lefevere. “The amount of cocaine present [at the time of his positive test] was enough to say that there was someone with him who was using it, and he came close to those people.”
So, y’know, there’s that. What can you do with that? We must be talking about more than just patting a cokehead on the shoulder, otherwise those tests scare us. Maybe he made out with a chick with a habit. Who knows? He’s got his team’s support, and that’s a great thing - but we can only imagine what hell rains down on him if he ever tests positive again.