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Virenque returns early from doping ban

French cyclist Richard Virenque will return to professional competition on Wednesday after completing his ban for drug offences connected with the Festina scandal. The five-time Tour de France King of the Mountains winner will take part in an international criterium at Quillan in the first event since his ban ended. He had initially been banned until October but had that slashed by two months on appeal earlier this year, allowing him to return early. "I feel good," said Virenque, who now rides for Domo-Farm Frites. "But for me the big test will be in Burgos," he said referring to his

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By VeloNews Interactive Wire Services, Copyright AFP 2001

French cyclist Richard Virenque will return to professional competition on Wednesday after completing his ban for drug offences connected with the Festina scandal.

The five-time Tour de France King of the Mountains winner will take part in an international criterium at Quillan in the first event since his ban ended. He had initially been banned until October but had that slashed by two months on appeal earlier this year, allowing him to return early.

“I feel good,” said Virenque, who now rides for Domo-Farm Frites. “But for me the big test will be in Burgos,” he said referring to his scheduled participation in the Aug 20 race in Spain.

Virenque admitted at a highly publicized trial last October to systematic doping while with Festina.

Copyright AFP 2001