Cycling: Virenque to race in Giro

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The Independent Online
RICHARD VIRENQUE will take part in the Giro d'Italia, which starts on Saturday, despite being placed under investigation in a large-scale French drugs squad probe into doping in cycling, his lawyer said yesterday.

"Richard will certainly be there at the start of the Giro," Gilbert Collard said in Paris. Virenque spent all of Tuesday at the French police headquarters where he was questioned. He underwent blood, urine and capillary tests and was released in the evening.

The Polti rider is under investigation on two fronts as he is also at the centre of last year's Tour de France scandal as the former leader of the disgraced Festina team. Virenque has all along denied knowingly taking banned substances although most of the ex-Festina officials and riders have confessed to organised doping in the team.

Sources close to the investigation into a sports drugs trafficking ring said on Tuesday that Virenque had admitted under interrogation to taking banned substances. But Collard said: "Richard Virenque hasn't made any statement in which he recognised doping himself."

The Polti team have said that if Virenque were found guilty of doping, they would sack him.