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French court washes its hands leaving Quick Step without their lead man

Tom Boonen's chances of riding in the Tour de France look even slimmer today after it was reported that the court supposed to be hearing his appeal against a suspension for a positive test for cocaine has refused to rule in the case, claiming it doesn't have jurisdiction.

Amaury Sports Organisation (ASO), the organisers of the Tour de France, handed Boonen a ban when he tested positive for cocaine after Belgian authorities conducted a search of his house for drugs in April. Quick Step appealed after the UCI announced that in its view there was no case to answer because the test was carried out during a resting period between races.

Since time was short, the Belgian team decided to take the case to a civil court rather than a sports tribunal, believing that it gave them better chance of success before the start of the tour on 4 July. However, the court in Nanterre ruled that it did not have jurisdiction to hear the case as an agreement exists between ASO and competing teams which states that any disputes should go before the French Olympic Committee's arbitration panel.

Quick Step have released a statement stating that they'll now take the case to the FOC but with four days left to the start of the TdF it seems unlikely that there'll be a result in time. Quick Step have named an eight-man squad for the Tour so far: if Boonen isn't cleared to ride then Allan Davis will take his place (insert Jonathan Creek joke here)

Dave is a founding father of road.cc and responsible for kicking the server when it breaks. In a previous life he was a graphic designer but he's also a three-time Mountain Bike Bog Snorkelling world champion, and remains unbeaten through the bog. Dave rides all sorts of bikes but tends to prefer metal ones. He's getting old is why.