Thursday, June 12, 2008

Should Tommeke be banned from Tour de France?

I'm torn when i try to answer this question. My first thought is that he should surely be denied TdF entry. Cocaine is illegal, unhealthful, dangerous when operating motorized vehicles, and very addictive which can lead to a whole collection of undesirable outcomes.

But my second thought is that he tested positive out of competition for a "recreational" drug, which then categorizes it as part of his personal life. If he tested positive for it during competition or just before competition, close enough to the event where it would still solidly be in his body while competing, then that would be different.

Another thought to consider is that when he chose to be a professional cyclist, he took on the responsibility to be a role model. Role models should not take illegal drugs.

Here in belgium it seems that for the most part Belgians are in support of Boonen. It does not mean that they condone his behavior, though. I think that people here are understanding that athletes are just like everyone else.

I am curious to see what people think. And feel free to vote in my poll to the left.

21 comments:

chr15 tree said...

Hey I'm back... my soreness is starting to subside... Roubaix is harsh, nothing could have prepared me for the physical assault on my bones, muscles, joints, mentality that those cobbles dish out! But I got through it, just over 10hours! I feel ruined now.

As for Tom eh?
I for one in my personal life choose to stay well clear of drugs.

In my sporting heroes, I ask that they complete clean. The fact that it is an out of competition test and out of competition cocaine isn't a banned substance should mean that Boonen is free to race. It's a personal thing, if the Police want to take the matter up however that is a different matter.

For his swift unequivocal (?sp) apology I will forgive him.

And Tom if you are reading (I know he's a big fan of yours ;) ) Please don't destroy your career, your fans, your sport, your name and yourself.

CT :)

chr15 tree said...

PS How are 'class a' drugs such as cocaine viewed in a liberal society like Belgium?

chr15 tree said...

So there I am scanning the pages of cxmagazine.com and who do I see, only my favourite us cross/road racer living in Belgium.

Should I pop over and say hi?

MT said...

The Belgian's are pretty quick to forgive and forget when it comes drug use and drama of the sort with their choosen Golden Boyz of cycling. Look at VDB. They guy is a complete mess and hasn't competed at at high level years yet he still has a HUGE contingent of fan support when he does enter a race.

For Tom - yes, no doubt he made a poor choice and has slightly tarnished his Golden Boy image. But he has not broken any doping violations in the sport of cycling as I understand. I think he should be good to go as far as racing and leave it up to whoever signs his paycheck to handle any punishment.

But of course, the Swiss and the French see it differently.

Just think of the field day the French would have had if Armstrong pulled this type of shinanigun.

PEANUT said...

chr15:
CONGRATS on paris-roubaix! Those cobbles are scary, huh! There is definitely a technique to riding them to minimize the blow to the body and for optimal effectiveness. But unfortunately something like what you did will beat ANYONE up - even TOM BOONEN!!
Cocaine possession is illegal here. I don't know though if they will prosecute you if it's only found in you but not on you.
If you're wanting to pop over and say hi to me at the race that i may have mentioned in the cxmagazine article, i hate to report that the race is over and the parking lot is empty! haha. Are you still in france?
Hey MT:
You're dead on. And regarding armstrong, part of me is bummed that he was never caught using drugs but i'm happy that he now remains a relatively untainted role model.

Don in Mill Valley said...

A quick note from a Surgical perspective, plus professional medical observation (none M.D.). Cocaine will kill you. If it doesn't rupture your Aorta the fibrillation will. This year alone I have seen two Operating room cases of ruptured Aorta's. I know several athletes that have died from the stuff. In over thirty years of Heart and lung practice I will assure you I have seen this more than you'd think in younger people. From my own count 12 deaths from the stuff. Stay away from Drugs. Period!!!

No to the the TdF. Sit it out and pay mind to your time to being smarter as a role model in Rehab.

As you see even by association Levi has had to suffer too!

Think about your character and future. We are always found out for out mistakes and sins. A year off at 27. A Blessing really.

Good Luck to you Tom if you are reading this.

Don

StevenCX said...

Technically there's as much reason to exclude Astana and The Chicken from the Tour as to exclude Boonen. It's an arbitrary choice on the part of the ASO. The agreements the teams signed I believe give the ASO reason to exclude riders for anything that might sully the reputation of the Tour. So really, no, I don't think he should be excluded, but it's hardly a democracy eh?

MT said...

I don't believe there is any real debate about here that coke is a nasty and dangerous substance and should be left alone. It more comes down to the rules of the game that state the use of cocaine is illegal within competition.

Fortunate for Tomke - he tinkled in the cup during an out of competition control. And while this is certainly not a good situation either, I think most people feel that what he does on his own time is up to him.

If you think cocaine by itself is nasty, how safe does mixing it with other nasty ingrediants into a substance known as POT BELGE and using it as a performance enhancer during races sound?

"Pot Belge" sounds like something you might get after overindulging on Hoegaarden. Actually, it's a bit more potent than that. "Belgian mix", as it is generally translated, is a combination of amphetamines, cocaine and heroin. It's a cheap and dirty performance-enhancing drug for cyclists.
What's Belgian about it? Well, cycling is a huge participation sport there. All season long, you can race every day of the week on a "kermesse", a circuit race based around a village or small town. Local businesses put up the prize money, a few hundred euros. You can make a decent living even without being a full-time professional. The races are short, hard and fast; the testing regime haphazard. Hence "pot Belge": the winner's little helper.

Riders hooked on this stuff are guys that truly need some serious help.

It comes as no real surprize to me that the poor showing the mofia funded Astana team had at last years event they would be left off the list this year. There is also no love loss between Bruneel and the ASO. That had to be also in the mind of Levi when he signed on the dotted line last winter. I would venture a stab that it mostly came down to a finalcial decision for him to go with Astana.

gewilli said...

they still have that tour de france race over there?

I thought they stopped it when Lance retired...

veloandvino said...

yup 100%.

he is a public figure, role model to children, etc.

plus if he chooses to ignore the law with recreational drugs...what about using banned substances???

didn't jan get a yr or two for his out of comp x?

Flandria said...

Petacchi was banned so why not Boonen?

As a fan, he is my role model and to many other younger riders I am sure!

Is he going to re-hab or how bad is his addiction? How can you even race under the influence?

I feel bad but he is a celebrity and surrounded by people who are probably do coccaine for social reasons.

Rickie Rainwater said...

Cocain killed Pantani, Amphetamines killed Tom Simpson. Cocain use to be the miracle drug and used in many products until it's severely addictive properties were made apparent. Tom is admired and love by many fans, but he made a bad decision that is not only illegal, but could very well take his life someday if he does not see the seriousness of the potential of becoming dependent on drugs and alcohol. It is pretty obvious that driving a 2 ton auto under the influence of alcohol that something is seriously wrong with a Tom's judgement. Tom was tested before a race, and regardless, that is what the rules are and why they have out of competition testing. Alcohol isn't a baned out of competition drug and isn't treated with much seriousness, but cocain is definitely illegal. In some countries, it could be life or an extremely harsh sentence. Hopefully this won't take Tom's life in the long run.
No he should not be allowed into the tour de france if those are the rules, which are pretty clear.

Rickie Rainwater said...

On a lighter note, I bought a cheap mixer at the urging of my friend Toni and now I am seriously addicted to soy milk fruit smoothies. I may have to check myself into some smoothy treatment center soon. Had a great ride today. The wind lately has been fierce at times, and the heat is starting to come on, but it was good getting out.

erikv said...

He should be allowed to race TDS and TDF.

I'm getting sick of the over-conservative reactions we're seeing now. No other sport in the world is as strict as cycling, so we don't need to go above and beyond what the rules state (which is what's happening here with the code of conduct crap).

Of course, it's wrong when someone cheats, but let the rules decide, and let that be the end of it!

chr15 tree said...

[quote]
CONGRATS on paris-roubaix! Those cobbles are scary, huh! There is definitely a technique to riding them to minimize the blow to the body and for optimal effectiveness. But unfortunately something like what you did will beat ANYONE up - even TOM BOONEN!![/quote]

Optimal technique. LOL! After (actually before) I finished I was swearing never again, even to the extent that my litespeed was going to be dismantled and sold piece by piece on ebay during the following week, but I finished I showered and I started thinking, if only i rested more between sectors... now I am thinking how could I have ridden the pave differently, and finally, next time I will do better. I finished with blistered palms and aching eyeballs amongst everything else. Who knew that 'sit bones' could be come swollen. At Arenberg i rode enough to understand (and get my photo taken) beofre jumping on to the cinderpath at the end where spectators had gathered I jumped back on to the pave and sprinted out of the forest past some belgian riders, it was the best feeling, to the crowd shouting hup hup hup hup Awesome! and at the Carrefour I rode the whole lot. when the pave was wet so many people were coming off, I chucked my leg over and continued 'cross style, out running some of the riders! Ha!


[quote]If you're wanting to pop over and say hi to me at the race that i may have mentioned in the cxmagazine article, i hate to report that the race is over and the parking lot is empty! haha. Are you still in france? [/quote]

Got back to the UK yesterday after spending a little time in Amiens visiting (and paying my respects at) some of the war cemetaries before heading to Lille for some R&R and shopping! :) When I said should I pop over to say Hi, I meant to your profile on cx magazine :)

PEANUT said...

Glad to read that i'm not the only one who is torn on this topic. Loved your response GeWilli!
MT: The "belgian mix" still does exist for kermis racing - but not sure to what level or what the actual ingredients have morphed into today. And you can make a ton of money if you know which kermissen to attend.
I haven't heard anything about rehab but if there is any truth to the Tom Vannoppen connection, then it could be helpful.
I still do believe that cycling law needs to be upheld - good or bad. In this case, he was legal with cycling law but i suppose not with the race organizing committee.
No matter whether he is right or wrong, it will be a pity that we don't get to watch him race.
and on another topic, do you think petacchi should have been suspended for taking too much of his asthma meds? Sadly enough, that extra amount he took can't enhance performancement. AND do you think they should shorten his susupension by one day so he can race the Vuelta?
chr: Funny story about your experience! very colorful! I can totally relate to popping on and off the cobbles depending on who is watching - haha! Absolutely go over to cxmagazine.com. I think you'll enjoy the next issue, by the way. And if you want to subscribe to another magazine that i am now a fitnes columnist for, it's called VegNews Magazine. My first column is in the July issue. yippee! First article is about "boost your performance naturally" oddly enough, considering our topic on this post!

MT said...

Doping in Kermesses was surely happening a couple years ago but I think most of the dopers have moved on from the Belgian "speed ball" to more sophisticated drugs like nandralone, EPO, etc - atleast those who could afford it.

Everyone out there in the race knows exactly who the dopers are. It;s not hard to tell - they win pretty much each race they show up to by attaching a gazillion times in there 12 until they dropped everyone else in the break and then ride in alone.

It's rare but there are doping controls every once and a while. One time I did a race where the doping control folks didn't show up until afterward, to test the podium riders. The doper who won caught wind and quickly jetted out of Dodge, not passing GO, nor collecting $200 and definately not peeing in a cup.

PEANUT said...

They still drug test amateurs here but it's still not common.
Funny story about the race!

bikesgonewild said...

...boonen might be specialized enough & surrounded by enough good people that the coke will never jeopardize 'his' life but he is, like & accept it or not, a role model...

...some young belgian fan thinks "tommeke's down w/ the dope, so i'm good w/ that" & ends up ruining his or someone else's life by becoming a fatality...

...would that kid go that route on his own ???...maybe but then again maybe not...kids are less influenced by family & more by "role models" than ever before...make your own decision but learn some facts first...

...& don from m.v. which is just up & over the mountain from me, knows as a professional from whence he speaks...i, coming out of the "hippie drug culture" of the '60's & '70's have literally seen it ruin lives physically & mentally because everyone's attitude is "hey, i'm good, i know how to handle this shit"...ya, right...

...& me ???...yep, did it a few times...& notice i didn't say "tried" to distance myself from the situation...fortunately, i was more interested in my health & my cycling to get any more familiar w/ it...

...le tour ???...not a fricking chance...not this year 'special'ized dude...pay the piper, try again...you're just not that 'special' in my book any more...

Big Bad Wolf said...

As far as I'm concerned, my first thougth would be they should just ban the team. After all, it ISN'T a french team and they also banned Astana (although this might have more to do with them getting even with Bruyneel then anything else)
But then, those guys can't help that Boonen did what he did.
My second thought is that QSI should fire Boonen now, I believe this might get worse, not better. Remember VDB?

PEANUT said...

good points.