While cycling may get its good name dragged through the dirt on a regular basis, thanks to a near-constant barrage of doping allegations, typically, cyclocrossers tend to stay off of the “accused” list. However, yesterday Sport Wereld, a Belgian newspaper reported that Belgian ’crosser Tom Vannoppen has been suspended for two years after testing positive for cocaine. Cocaine, in addition to obviously being illegal for the general populace, is considered a “stimulant” under UCI guidelines, so testing positive for the drug is to test positive for doping.
Vannoppen has had a long and varied career, placing second in Worlds in 2002 behind Mario De Clercq. However, Vannoppen was set to retire three years ago at the age of 29, at the tail end of another drug scandal involving cocaine. However, while fired from his Sunweb-Projob team in 2008, he did not retire and instead raced as an Elite without contract. In 2010, he placed second in Belgian Cyclocross Nationals in that division (Belgium holds a separate race for those not on a professional squad).
According to Belgian media sources, Vannoppen has been unavailable for comment. Het Belang Van Limbur and the Gazet van Antwerpen both reported that, although Vannopen would receive a two-year ban, because the trace of cocaine in his system was so small, he would still be eligible to ride in tours and other unofficial races.