June 11, 2008
Today, ESPN is reporting that Tom Boonen will be barred from the Tour de France this year after testing positive for cocaine. The green jersey winner last year as the best sprinter and the 2005 world champion, Boonen was expected to be a central figure of this year's Tour. He joins the entire Astana team, including last year's winner Alberto Contador, top American Levi Leipheimer, and German Andreas Kloden, on the list of top riders who will not be allowed to compete in this year's Tour. Michael Rasmussen, clearly the best climber in the sport last year, was kicked out mid-competition while wearing the yellow jersey and has not found a team since.
The saddest part about Boonen's case is that cocaine isn't even a performance-enhancing drug unless taken during the competition. Unfortunately for him, it is illegal and enough to get him kicked out of competitions for this summer.