Apologies to Plinytheelder, who fanshot this already, but this story needs a larger discussion. Tom Boonen has been disinvited to the Tour de France by operators ASO because he doesn't look like their kind of guy. From L'Equipe:
"L'image et le comportement de Tom Boonen sont incompatibles avec l'image du Tour de France et celle qu'un champion exceptionnel comme lui se doit de véhiculer"
Translation: Boonen's image and comportment are incompatible with that of the Tour and of a champion (and something about vehicle emissions). This is so, so, so stupid. Here is a short list of reasons why:
1. The charge that he used cocaine is looking
doubtful questionable (see comments and fanposts).
2. This has nothing to do with performance enhancing drugs. Never did.
4. Shall we engage in a review of the image of every rider to be allowed into the Tour in recent years and whether their images were compatible with the sainted vision the Tour has of itself? Shall we start with all the French riders?
5. Shall we engage in a review of the image of the ASO personnel too? Glass houses and all. Have any of the Amaurys ever cheated on their taxes or spouses?
6. What the fuck is the image anyway? Tom Boonen is a human being, capable of a wide range of behaviors from immature to obnoxious to cool to kind, and so on. I personally see him in a positive light because he was very chatty and friendly at the ATOC. Tom Boonen also lives a highly unusual life, sort of the Madonna of Belgium, hounded by the press day and night. My guess is that the "image" is that of him in the media, who can't stop talking about him for one reason or another. So for the Tour to judge his "image" is incomprehensibly shallow, stupid, petty, arbitrary and awful. The guy has a lot riding on his Tour performance, as do Quick Step. Like all teams they are heavily invested in the Tour. Although I will recognize ASO's legal right to exclude people from its private event, I reserve my own right to call them A HORRIBLE BUNCH OF ASSHOLES for exercising the right in a completely arbitrary manner.
I'll stop now. I can't go on without slipping into >50% profanity. One last note: ASO have said Quick Step can appeal to the French Olympic Committee. It's possible this is ASO's way of scoring the cheap points while hoping someone else undoes the idiocy of their decision. State legislatures do this all the time: "Yay, we passed an important law banning bad hairstyles. Now don't nobody go challenging it in the supreme court. Say, on equal protection grounds." Stay tuned, I guess.
UPDATE! Let Tommeke Ride! Let them know:
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