Frenchman Richard Virenque (Domo) captured the ninth round of the World Cup
in Paris Tours this weekend with a 240km break shared with compatriot Jacky
Durand. It was Virenque’s first ever classic success and shows he’s in great
form for the World Championships this weekend.
The duo broke clear of a lethargic peleton shortly after the 12km mark and
worked well to build up a lead that reached over 15 minutes. However the
peleton were not interested in seeing Durand win his second Paris Tours or
Virenque rescue a season blighted by drug suspension and quickly set about
the task of reducing the pairs lead.
With 70kms to go last years winner Andrie Tafi made a bid to catch the
leaders and was quickly joined by three riders and although the group worked
well together the Telekom-led peleton quickly absorbed them.
With the gap being reduced at an alarming rate the Frenchmen knew their time
was up and with eight kilometres to go and a gap of just 44 seconds Virenque
attacked on the climb of the cote de l’epan. It was enough to leave Durand
stranded and while the big guns for the World’s fired off fruitless attacks
behind, Virenque hung on to take victory by only two seconds.
1st Richard Virenque (Domo, France) 254km 6:58:32
2nd Oscar Friere (Mapie) @ 2secs
3rd Erik Zabel (Telekom)
4th Thor Hushovd (Credit Agricole)
5th Andrie Hauptman (Tacconi)
6th Romans Vainstains (Domo)
7th Alessandro Petacchi (Fasso)
8th Jan Kirsipuu (Agr)
9th Nico Eeckhart (Cofidis)
10th Zbigniew Spruch (Lampre) @ s.t