Tom Boonen Apologized For His Behaviour - Quickstep Stays For Another 3 Years

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11.06.2008/During a press conference in Wielsbeke (Belgium) Tom Boonen apologized for his behavior.  Quick.Step manager Lefevre confirmed his confidence in the winner of this years edition of Paris - Roubaix and announced - together with his sponsors – that the team will go on for three more years in accordance with the same budget. 

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Will Tom Boonen defend his green jersey? (© Cyclingheroes)

Tom Boonen read a statement at the press conference but did not answer any questions. The popular Quickstep rider apologized for his behavior saying: "Recently my name appeared several times in the headlines in a negative way. I am aware that by this means I have hurt my family, friends, my team and my fans. I wish explicitly to apologise for that."
Boonen continued: "But I am not perfect. I will accept the consequenses."
Boonen did not start in todays Veenendaal - Veenendaal and wants to take some rest. "In the coming days I will take it easy a bit to recover from the emotions. Fortunately I can and may count on the support of the people close to me. Furthermore I know that I can count on the confidence of my team. My sincere thanks for that."

Boonen also spoketo his fans. "I also hope for understanding of my fans. I assure them that I will be there again and that more than ever, they can count on my unconditional commitment."
After Boonen's statement Quickstep's team manager Patrick Lefevere spoke at the press conference. Lefevere did answer questions. Lefevere said he originally planned a press conference for Thursday to announce that title sponsor Quickstep renewed the contract with his team for three more years.
Lefevere said: "We wanted to announce that our sponsors will continue for three more years. After we have spoken with our sponsors we decided to confirm our confidence in Tom Boonen today. Tom delivered us six beautíful years. We will not let him down now."
Lefevere admitted that the news about Boonen's positive test has hit the team hard. "Tom and the whole team are emotionally tattered." Quicksteps team manager said: "Still we are convinced we can continue to work together in a serene way."
Lefevere said he is in contact with Tour de France organiser A.S.O. "Yesterday I called with Christian Prudhomme from A.S.O.," Lefevere said. I will contact them again today." Lefevere added:"I will also speak with other race organisers."
But according to Lefevere the Swiss race organiser is not allowed to prevent Boonen from starting. "If we go to CAS we will win for sure. Its a Pro-Tour race with the right and obligation to start." But Lefevere is not planning to bring the case to CAS. "Under these circumstances its better not to cause any extra polemics."
Frans De Cock represented sponso Quickstep at todays press conference. De Cock said the sponsor wants to forgive Tom Boonen his mistakes. "He is and stays a true champion," De Cock said.
De Cock continued: "We are a small country and don't have many top athletes. Everybody has to bear the responsibility to forget this incident and to look to the future."

De Cock said this is not a doping case. "This is not the same as using doping. Its about a private matter."

Quickstep will continue to sponsor the team for three more years. "We are and will stay the biggest Belgian sponsor," De Cock said. "I will not name numbers but the team will have the same budget."

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