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July 14, 2004

Virenque climbs to Stage 10 victory

BBC SPORT | Virenque delights crowds
Here's one for the old-timers in this Tour of youngsters, as 34-year-old Richard Virenque took a dramatic breakaway win.

The Quick Step-Davitamon team leader maintained a fierce tempo as he closed in on a seventh Tour stage win received a raptorous reception when he rode into Saint-Flour after 6:00.24 in the saddle.

The victory was France's 14th on Bastille Day since the war and the first since Laurent Jalabert's 2001 win.

Quick Step's strategy in the King of the Mountains competition is now clear: They sent Bettini out in the race's early days to keep another rider from loading up on garbage KoM points, and used him today to keep anyone from limiting Virenque's gains by leading the field over the line.

On the other hand, I'm not sure what Christophe Moreau of Credit Agricole was up to in grabbing the crumbs of the lowest king of the mountain placing; any ideas?

You won't be reminded of it on OLN, but Virenque was the rider in the very center of the Festina affair that overshadowed the 1998 Tour.

Also:

BBC Sport | Tour de France stage 10 photos

Posted by Frank Steele on July 14, 2004 in Paolo Bettini, Photo galleries, Richard Virenque, Stage results | Permalink

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Comments

Actually both Liggit and Sherwin alluded to Virenque's past doping issues, saying something about how one had to wonder whether he had the right to still be riding at this level professionally.

Posted by: philbert at Jul 14, 2004 12:00:27 PM

Philbert, you shouldn't trouble yourself with it: the French will scream "dopay!" at Lance, who has never failed a test, and then will hail Virenque as a national hero. The collective French capacity for hypocrisy and self delusion is monumental.

Posted by: Jason O. at Jul 14, 2004 1:29:47 PM

Jason, you shouldn't trouble yourself with it: the Americans will scream "Weapons of Mass Destruction!" at Iraq, who has never failed a test, and then will hail Bush as a national hero. The collective American capacity for hypocrisy and self delusion is monumental.

Allez Les Dopers!!!

Posted by: Oh Jason at Jul 14, 2004 2:26:22 PM

Doesn't trouble me at all. If Virenque is clean, I'm happy for him.

I was just relating what I heard on OLN in response to "You won't be reminded of it on OLN, but Virenque was the rider in the very center of the Festina affair that overshadowed the 1998 Tour." in the entry. Didn't mean to open up a political can of worms.

Posted by: philbert at Jul 14, 2004 2:35:36 PM

Philbert,

Cool. It had seemed to me that the OLN broadcasts have tiptoed around the question of doping in general, so I presumed they would do so in this case as well.

Posted by: Frank at Jul 14, 2004 3:19:05 PM

I'm really happy that Virenque is generating all this goodwill just for not taking banned substances...I wish we all could be national heroes just for fulfilling the minimum requirements of our respective jobs.

Incidentally, two things that reveal a weak mind:
1) The inability to deal the with argument at hand, i.e., arbitrarily changing the subject to irrelevant topics.
2) The inability to express oneself without copying the forms of others, i.e., lack of creative originality.

Go home and study for a few years before you try again.

Posted by: Jason O. at Jul 14, 2004 4:12:27 PM

Frank,

One other thing you might find interesting was Liggit's response to David Millar being banned. I believe his words were, "He's an anonymous person to me." I think he said that during the show the night before the prologue. Might have been during the prologue or one of the first stages, though. Regardless, I thought it was a pretty strong statement since Millar had always seemed to be one of his favorites. Perhaps he felt betrayed by him?

Oh, and Jason,
It's not that I'm happy for Virenque that he's doing his job while clean. I'm happy that he's doing it successfully while clean. For that matter, I'm quite happy for any one of these riders that win a stage. It's quite an accomplishment.

Posted by: Philbert at Jul 14, 2004 4:35:01 PM

Jason,

I enjoyed the way you illustrated how the French live by contradictory rules of fair play. Very nicely worded.

"Jason O", on the other hand, (and probably not his real name), came up with perhaps the lamest posting ever on this site. Some might find his attempt at turning this into an AOL chatroom humorous, but ultimately we would all rather talk about the TDF than politics. Probably just the French inferiority complex at work again...

I must say Virenque won in surprising fashion; I don't recall even knowing of his presence in the race. Makes you wonder why the idiot ever took drugs in the first place. Of course, he still needs to pass his test.


Posted by: Fredric at Jul 14, 2004 5:59:07 PM

Oops. My remarks were directed to "Oh Jason" and not "Jason O." Sorry, Jason O. Again, great message by you.

Posted by: Fredric at Jul 14, 2004 6:43:01 PM