By VeloNews Interactive wire services, Copyright AFP2001
The Vuelta a España will be Richard Virenque’s first major tour since he finished up a 10-month doping ban last month and the Domo-Farm Frites rider knows he has a struggle on his hands.
“You won’t see the Richard Virenque who rode so well in the Tour de France in recent years, the next three weeks are going to present me with some real highs and lows,” he told French sports daily L’Equipe.
Virenque won the polka-dot climber’s jersey at the Tour de France five times (1994-97 and again in 1999) but picked up a ten-month ban after admitting during a criminal trial last October to having taken doping products while a member of the Festina team.
“I didn’t want the ban to end my career, I’ll stop riding when I feel it’s the right time, but now I feel I’m still capable of doing some beautiful things on a bicycle,” he explained.