By VeloNews Interactive wire servicesCopyright AFP2000
Richard Virenque has filed an appeal seeking to overturn a nine-month ban for doping with the Court of Arbitration for Sport (TAS) in Lausanne, Switzerland, a court spokesman said on Thursday. Spokesman Mathieu Reeb, said the appeal was received via certified mail on Wednesday. Lawyers for Virenque, the five-time winner of the King of the Mountains competition at the Tour de France, must submit their written arguments within 10 days.
The 31-year-old Virenque was given a nine-month suspension by the Swiss cycling federation after he admitted during the recent Festina trial that he had used performance-enhancing substances, including Erythropoietin (EPO). Until his confession, Virenque had vehemently denied using drugs, a charge that has plagued him ever since the Festina scandal erupted in July of 1998.
Virenque’s attorneys have said that a nine-month ban, scheduled to begin on February 1, would essentially put an end to Virenque’s career.
After Virenque’s attorneys formally file their arguments to the court, the Swiss federation has another 10 days to submit its arguments. The court is then expected to deliver its judgment within a maximum of four months.