With the start of the Tour de France less than 24 hours away, it has been announced that Richard Virenque has signed for the Belgian team Domo Farm Frites. The 31-year-old Frenchman and five-times winner of the King of the Mountains competition in the Tour de France is currently serving a ban due to the Festina scandal of the 1998 Tour. He will team up with World road race champion Roman Vainstains and Classics king Johan Museeuw.
His contract will last until the end of this season and it gives Virenque time to prove he still has what it takes to race at the highest level. His suspension runs until August and it’s likely he’ll take part in the Tour of Spain later in the year and the World Championships in October. After spending the majority of his career with Festina and then two years with the no-longer Polti team, this will be his first ride for a Belgian outfit.
In other news, it has been announced that Jeremy Hunt will not been included in the Big Mat team for this year’s Tour de France. The British sprint talent who last weekend won the National men’s road race will miss the race, along with his Aussie teammate Jay Sweet. That means that for the second year running,David Millar will be the only Brit in the Tour.