Virenque vies for verdict
French champion to sue Tour de France
Posted: Thursday July 30, 1998 10:53 AM
MARSEILLE, France (CNN/SI) -- French cycling champion Richard Virenque who rides for the French Festina team announced Thursday that he intended to sue the organizers of the Tour de France.
The organizers banned Festina after team director Bruno Roussel admitted that performance enhancers had been utilized.
Virenque told the newspaper La Provence he had never been tested positive for doping and was unjustly barred. Several other riders and officials of his Festina team have admitted running a sophisticated doping system for several years.
This year's tour has all but collapsed under the weight of the doping scandal, with riders and team officials being questioned daily. Six of the original 21 teams have either been expelled or withdrawn from the tour in protest.
"I'm going to court," Virenque said. "I was one of the favorites. I trained to win this one and they threw me out without me ever testing positive. It's unfair."
Virenque said his team, barred last week after its coach admitted to running a vast doping operation, had been forced to pay for the others to save the image of the tour.
"The peleton moves on, but its too late," he said. "Everybody made believe this only concerned Festina, but in reality its the whole peleton that has been branded.
"The tour is my life. I ride for the tour... I'd really like to win it, that would be a sweet revenge."
Reuters contributed to this report.
Copyright © 1999 CNN/SI. A Time Warner Company.
Terms under which this service is provided to you.