No, the French climber hasn’t got a bun in the oven, he’s been handed a 9 month suspension by the Swiss Cycling Federation after being found guilty of drug use by the French courts.
The ban doesn’t even start till February either which means he’ll miss almost the entire 2001 season, leaving the currently unsigned 31 year old facing a premature end to his career. The sentence was described as “very severe” by Virenque and his agent, but Daniel Baal – head of the French Cycling Federation – commented “It’s the median of what UCI rules stipulate – between six months and a year for a first offence.”
Virenque meanwhile isn’t going to go down without a fight, “I will not be retiring and have a fierce desire to return to the circuit,” he vowed, “My advisors have to get together soon. My only chance is to appeal. I think that’s the logic of it.”