Paris-Roubaix winner and former world champion Tom Boonen has tested positive for cocaine, Het Laatste Nieuws reported on Tuesday.
The newspaper said that the 27-year-old Boonen tested positive for the drug three days before the Tour of Belgium on May 25, although anti-doping officials say the rider will not face suspension since use of the drug is not specifically banned except in competition.
Boonen and his Quick Step squad have scheduled a news conference for Wednesday at the team’s headquarters in Wielsbeke, Belgium, promising “an annoucement regarding the current situation.”
Will be interesting to see what comes out of this. I can certainly understand the allure of cocaine … when I was younger, I did a fair amount of “experimentation” with various illicit chemical substances, cocaine amongst them … I know firsthand what the effects are, how it makes the user feel, and why someone would want to continue using.
Thankfully, after a really bad night in the Tenderloin District of San Francisco involving glass pipes, getting robbed (twice), and the offer of needles (with other substances, which I turned down), I wised up. I have been clean since August 1991; almost 17 years at this point.
This is not some huge confession that I’m putting out here … I’ve never really hidden this from anyone, and have discussed it fairly freely when the topic has come up. I’m certainly not proud of it, but nor am I ashamed of it.
To me, there is a huge difference between taking drugs to cheat, and taking drugs to escape. What I did, and what Brother Boonen has been doing was seek an escape from the pressures of our lives. Different pressures I’m sure, but not always easy to admit and seek help for.
Hopefully, this will be Boonen’s wake-up call, and he’ll seek the help he needs, rather than continue down the same path that Marco Pantani and Jose Maria Jimenez have traversed, to their unfortunate and tragic deaths.
And lest anyone worry, based on other posts on the blog over the past year or so, as bad as my life sometimes seems to me now, it’s not nearly as bad as it was in the last 1980s and early 1990s … I am in no danger of falling back into old habits.
I’m not even drinking really … a beer here and there, but I can’t remember the last time I’ve had a real cocktail. It certainly wasn’t at home. I still have the same 4 unopened bottles of vodka in the freezer that I’ve had since posting about the The Great Vodka Taste Test last fall.