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Boonen could face trial in Belgium

1/6/2009

BRUSSELS, Belgium -- Belgian authorities will decide
next month whether former world cycling champion Tom Boonen will
face trial after testing positive for cocaine last year.

A decision will be announced on Feb. 3, a
spokeswoman for the Belgian city of Turnhout prosecutor's office
said after Boonen's closed-door hearing on Tuesday.

An out-of-competition doping test conducted between two
races last May found traces of the drug in the 28-year-old
rider's urine sample, leading to the Belgian rider being barred
from the 2008 Tour de France.

The spokeswoman declined to comment on whether the rider,
who become a local hero after winning the world championship in
2005, could face a jail sentence, a fine, or both.

Previously, prosecutors have said he could face anything
between three months and five years in prison.

The Quick Step rider did not refer to the drugs issue in a
news conference he gave last June after local prosecutors
confirmed they were investigating him for suspected cocaine
possession. Boonen said merely that he was "not perfect."