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95th Paris-Tours - CDM

France, October 7, 2001

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Richard Virenque
Photo: © AFP

Allez Richard Redemptor; Raging Virenque takes Paris Tours

By Tim Maloney, cyclingnews.com correspondent

With one week to go before the World Road Championships in Lisbon, the penultimate race in the '01 World Cup, the sprinters classic Paris-Tours, a surprise victory went to a decidedly non-sprinter. It was the controversial climber Richard Virenque (Domo-Farm Frites) who managed to hold off the charging peloton for a solo win on Tours' Avenue du Grammont as he attacked near the end of a long two-up break with fellow Frenchman Jacky Durand. Virenque grabbed his first ever World Cup in front of his adoring French fans with an amazing comeback win today.

"On the last climb I gave it everything. In the last straightaway, it was hell, I just closed my eyes and gave it everything," said Virenque after his win today. "For 10 months I haven't raced; it is a lesson of courage I have given today. This is the sport."

Virenque was at the heart of the '98 Festina scandal and although he always denied the drug use that had been attributed to him, Virenque finally recanted and admitted his sins late last year in open court in Lille, earning himself a 10 month suspension. In what some saw as courageous and other felt was sheer stupidity, Domo-Farm Frites boss Patrick Lefevere announced his signing of Virenque last July as the Tour De France began in Dunkirk.

Today, Lefevere's faith in Virenque paid off as the intense Frenchman powered to victory in Paris-Tours. "Super! What a character, what a character," said Lefevere in Tours. "Virenque came up to me and asked me, at the moment they were almost caught: do you still think I made a mistake taking off like that in the start of the race? He's incredible. It will cost me a million French francs more now to keep him."

On a cool, cloudy morning 184 riders took the start at 10:55; earlier than scheduled due to the strong headwinds from the southwest blowing up the Loire River valley. After just 12 km,Virenque decided to make a solo move to open the day's festivities. Although he only started racing in August after his 10 month suspension, the French rider had a respectable Vuelta and probably wanted to test his legs for Lisbon.

Virenque was quickly joined by another Frenchman; '98 Paris-Tours winner Jacky "Dudu" Durand, and the duo rapidly gained minutes on the unenthusiastic peloton. As the front pair battled across the flat plains of the Beauce region south of Paris into the strong headwind, they had gained 18'00 after 60 km of racing of the 254 km total distance.

As the race approached the Loire River after 100 km near Orleans, rain began to fall to add to the day's difficult weather conditions. Behind the two escapees, the peloton started to get cold and decided to up their pace and slowly close the gap on Virenque and Durand. At the feed zone, their gap was 13'00, but with 70 km to race, the front runners had lost almost half their lead to hold a 7'00 gap as the chase heated up.

After the Cote de Valliere, last year's winner Andrea Tafi (Mapei-Quick Step) took off solo after the two fugitives, who crossed the Loire River bridge past the Chateau d'Amboise with 6'00 lead, with 56 km to go. TDF stage winner Serge Baguet (Lotto), Estonian Laurie Aus (AG2R) and South African young gun Robbie Hunter (Lampre-Daikin) bridged to Tafi when the gap was 5'30" with 50 km to race, with the peloton chasing, but the pursuit was disorganized and Tafi & Co began to close down on the front duo. At Azay sur Cher with 40 km, the four chasers were 4'00 behind Virenque and Durand, with the peloton 1'30 behind and Telekom and Tacconi Sport moving to the front to power the chase.

Once the sprinters teams started to chase, this doomed the move of the four riders trying to bridge up to Virenque and Durand. But the Domo rider had the bit in his teeth and seemed to get stronger as Tours approached, while Durand was taking ever shorter pulls. The previously dark skies began to lighten and with only 10 km and two short climbs, the duo had 50" on the Telekom led peloton.

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Erik Dekker
Photo: © AFP

On the penultimate climb with 7 km to go, Virenque dumped the tiring Durand and went solo while behind, World Cup leader Erik Dekker (Rabobank) surged. With the gap to Virenque dropping and Durand absorbed, Dekker was joined by World Champion Roman Vainsteins covering for his Domo-FF teammates, Luca Paolini (Mapei-Quick Step) and Jan Svorada (Lampre).

But like the battery bunny, Virenque kept going and going and going as the parcours dropped down into Joue'-le-Tours. Just 4.5 km to go as Virenque made a sharp right and jammed up the final steep, short hill, the Cote de Petit Pas d'Ane. As the red Direction Course and yellow Mavic service car blasted by, Virenque looked back expecting to get caught but there was still no one in sight, with the peloton 20" behind.

His face a mask of suffering and determination, after over six and a half hours of breakaway riding, Virenque incredibly still held off the chase of the world's best riders. As he dropped past the University of Tours, rode across the Cher River and entered the final 2 km of Paris-Tours along Avenue du Grammont, Virenque still had 15" lead on the Telekom and AG2R led peloton.
Click for larger image
Photo: © AFP

And that would be enough in the end. Virenque held the sprinters at bay with one final powerful surge and with 200m to race, turned around and saw he was going to win. Kissing his right index finger and shouting with rage, glee and redemption, Virenque was greeted by a huge wave of acclamation from the massive French crowds as he crossed the finish line in front of Tour's ornate Hotel De Ville.



Results - 254.5 km

1 Richard Virenque (Fra) Domo-Farm Frites            6.58.32 (36.484 km/h)
2 Oscar Freire Gomez (Spa) Mapei-Quick Step             0.02
3 Erik Zabel (Ger) Team Deutsche Telekom
4 Thor Hushovd (Nor) Crédit Agricole
5 Andrej Hauptman (Slo) Tacconi Sport-Vini Caldirola
6 Romans Vainsteins (Lat) Domo-Farm Frites
7 Alessandro Petacchi (Ita) Fassa Bortolo
8 Jaan Kirsipuu (Est) Ag2R Prévoyance
9 Nico Eeckhout (Bel) Lotto Adecco
10 Zbigniew Spruch (Pol) Lampre Daikin
11 Luca Paolini (Ita) Mapei-Quick Step
12 Guennadi Mikhailov (Rus) Lotto Adecco
13 Erik Dekker (Ned) Rabobank
14 Jo Planckaert (Bel) Cofidis
15 Andrei Tchmil (Bel) Lotto Adecco
16 Nicola Loda (Ita) Fassa Bortolo
17 Arvis Piziks (Lat) Team Csc Tiscali
18 Serguei Ivanov (Rus) Fassa Bortolo
19 Stefan Adamsson (Swe) Team Coast
20 Marc Lotz (Ned) Rabobank
21 Eddy Mazzoleni (Ita) Tacconi Sport-Vini Caldirola
22 Luca Mazzanti (Ita) Fassa Bortolo
23 Roger Hammond (GBr) Collstrop-Palmans
24 Mickael Pichon (Fra) Bonjour
25 Raphael Schweda (Ger) Team Coast
26 Alexandre Chouffe (Fra) Big Mat - Auber 93
27 Alessandro Bertolini (Ita) Alessio
28 Fabio Sacchi (Ita) Saeco Macchine Per Caffe
29 Mauro Gerosa (Ita) Tacconi Sport-Vini Caldirola
30 Igor Flores Galarza (Spa) Euskaltel-Euskadi
31 Jean-Patrick Nazon (Fra) La Francaise Des Jeux
32 Rolf Huser (Swi) Team Coast
33 Karsten Kroon (Ned) Rabobank
34 Paolo Bossoni (Ita) Tacconi Sport-Vini Caldirola
35 Christophe Brandt (Bel) Lotto Adecco
36 Peter Van Petegem (Bel) Collstrop-Palmans
37 Marco Serpellini (Ita) Lampre Daikin
38 Matthé Pronk (Ned) Rabobank
39 Alexandre Botcharov (Rus) Ag2R Prévoyance
40 Nico Mattan (Bel) Cofidis
41 Johan Verstrepen (Bel) Lampre Daikin
42 Andy Flickinger (Fra) Festina Watches
43 Sven Teutenberg (Ger) Festina Watches
44 Rolf Sörensen (Den) Team Csc Tiscali
45 Serge Baguet (Bel) Lotto Adecco
46 Mauro Radaelli (Ita) Tacconi Sport-Vini Caldirola
47 Massimiliano Mori (Ita) Saeco Macchine Per Caffe
48 Cristiano Frattini (Ita) Liquigas Pata
49 Kevin Hulsmans (Bel) Mapei-Quick Step
50 Jacob Moe Rasmussen (Den) Team Csc Tiscali
51 Chris Peers (Bel) Cofidis
52 Angelo Furlan (Ita) Alessio
53 Stefano Casagranda (Ita) Alessio
54 Johan Museeuw (Bel) Domo-Farm Frites
55 Cadel Evans (Aus) Saeco Macchine Per Caffe
56 Jeremy Hunt (GBr) Big Mat - Auber 93
57 Alberto Vinale (Ita) Alessio
58 Marius Sabaliauskas (Ltu) Saeco Macchine Per Caffe
59 Jan Svorada (Cze) Lampre Daikin
60 Piotr Wadecki (Pol) Domo-Farm Frites
61 Marc Wauters (Bel) Rabobank
62 Wilfried Peeters (Bel) Domo-Farm Frites
63 Nicolas Vogondy (Fra) La Francaise Des Jeux
64 Stefano Zanini (Ita) Mapei-Quick Step
65 Malte Urban (Ger) Team Coast
66 Laurent Brochard (Fra) Jean Delatour
67 Christophe Mengin (Fra) La Francaise Des Jeux
68 Danilo Hondo (Ger) Team Deutsche Telekom
69 Stéphane Heulot (Fra) Big Mat - Auber 93
70 Paolo Valoti (Ita) Alessio
71 José Alberto Martinez Trinidad (Spa) Euskaltel-Euskadi
72 Andrea Tafi (Ita) Mapei-Quick Step
73 Axel Merckx (Bel) Domo-Farm Frites
74 Maarten Den Bakker (Ned) Rabobank
75 Diego Ferrari (Ita) Tacconi Sport-Vini Caldirola
76 Jean-Cyril Robin (Fra) Bonjour
77 Enrico Cassani (Ita) Domo-Farm Frites
78 Mario Aerts (Bel) Lotto Adecco
79 Aitor Garmendia Arbilla (Spa) Team Coast
80 Rolf Aldag (Ger) Team Deutsche Telekom
81 Laszlo Bodrogi (Hun) Mapei-Quick Step
82 Michele Bartoli (Ita) Fassa Bortolo
83 Jean-Michel Tessier (Fra) Cofidis
84 Sylvain Chavanel (Fra) Bonjour
85 Oscar Pozzi (Ita) Fassa Bortolo                      0.17
86 Eddy Lembo (Fra) Jean Delatour                       0.25
87 Daniele Nardello (Ita) Mapei-Quick Step
88 Ivan Basso (Ita) Fassa Bortolo                       0.57
89 Giancarlo Raimondi (Ita) Liquigas Pata
90 Inaki Isasi Flores (Spa) Euskaltel-Euskadi           1.43
91 Robert Hunter (RSA) Lampre Daikin                    1.54
92 Ralf Grabsch (Ger) Team Deutsche Telekom
93 Steven De Jongh (Ned) Rabobank
94 Eric De Clercq (Bel) Collstrop-Palmans
95 Jan Boven (Ned) Rabobank
96 Tristan Hoffman (Ned) Team Csc Tiscali
97 Franck Renier (Fra) Bonjour
98 Jacky Durand (Fra) La Francaise Des Jeux
99 Médéric Clain (Fra) Cofidis                          4.21
100 Guillaume Auger (Fra) Big Mat - Auber 93
101 Arturas Trumpaukskt (Ltu) Saint-Quentin - Oktos
102 Daniel Becke (Ger) Team Coast
103 Linas Balciunas (Ltu) Ag2R Prévoyance
104 Jörg Ludewig (Ger) Saeco Macchine Per Caffe
105 Bruno Thibout (Fra) Jean Delatour
106 Davide Bramati (Ita) Mapei-Quick Step
107 Stéphane Goubert (Fra) Jean Delatour
108 Ivaylo Gabrovski (Bul) Jean Delatour
109 Christoph Von Kleinsorgen (Ger) Team Coast
110 Fausto Dotti (Ita) Liquigas Pata
111 Marco Milesi (Ita) Domo-Farm Frites
112 Gianluca Sironi (Ita) Tacconi Sport-Vini Caldirola
113 Benoît Poilvet (Fra) Crédit Agricole
114 Ludovic Auger (Fra) Big Mat - Auber 93
115 Franck Bouyer (Fra) Bonjour
116 Erwin Thijs (Bel) Collstrop-Palmans
117 Marc Streel (Bel) Collstrop-Palmans
118 Geert Omloop (Bel) Collstrop-Palmans
119 Patrick D'hont (Bel) La Francaise Des Jeux
120 Charles Guilbert (Fra) Bonjour
121 Ludovic Turpin (Fra) Ag2R Prévoyance
122 Cyril Saugrain (Fra) Big Mat - Auber 93
123 Maxim Smirnov (Rus) Saint-Quentin - Oktos
124 Andreas Klier (Ger) Team Deutsche Telekom
125 Bingen Fernandez Bustinza (Spa) Euskaltel-Euskadi
126 Salvatore Commesso (Ita) Saeco Macchine Per Caffe
127 Claude Lamour (Fra) Cofidis
128 Patrice Halgand (Fra) Jean Delatour                 5.25
129 Alexandar Nikacevic (Yug) Alessio                   6.24
130 Michaël Blaudzun (Den) Team Csc Tiscali
131 Frédéric Mainguenaud (Fra) Bonjour
132 Lauri Aus (Est) Ag2R Prévoyance
133 Xavier Jan (Fra) Big Mat - Auber 93
134 Kristof Trouve (Bel) Collstrop-Palmans
135 Frédéric Bessy (Fra) Crédit Agricole
136 Glenn D'hollander (Bel) Lotto Adecco
137 André Korff (Ger) Festina Watches
138 Pierrick Fedrigo (Fra) Crédit Agricole
139 Sandy Casar (Fra) La Francaise Des Jeux
140 Stéphane Auge (Fra) Festina Watches
141 Jan Schaffrath (Ger) Team Deutsche Telekom
142 Stephan Schreck (Ger) Team Deutsche Telekom
143 Kai Hundertmarck (Ger) Team Deutsche Telekom
144 Frank Hoj (Den) Team Coast
145 Danny Jonasson (Den) Team Csc Tiscali
146 Nicola Minali (Ita) Tacconi Sport-Vini Caldirola
147 Dmitri Fofonov (Kaz) Cofidis
148 Christophe Gauthier (Fra) Saint-Quentin - Oktos
149 Hans De Meester (Bel) Collstrop-Palmans             9.33
150 Christophe Morel (Fra) Saint-Quentin - Oktos
151 Gorka Gonzalez Larranaga (Spa) Euskaltel-Euskadi

Espoirs/U23 - 190 km

1 Samuel Dumoulin (Fra) Vélo club Lyon Vaulx-en-Velin            4.41.39 (40.475 km/h)
2 Mikha Timochine (Urs) Zoccorinese Vellutex Colnago
3 Anthony Geslin (Fra) Vendée U. Pays de la Loire                   0.24
4 Ruslan Gryshchenko (Ukr) Zoccorinese Vellutex Colnago
5 Maryan Hary (Fra) Vendée U. Pays de la Loire                      0.31
6 Salvatore Scamardella (Ita) Zoccorinese Vellutex Colnago
7 Mark Scanlon (Irl) VC La Pomme Marseille                          0.48
8 Volodimir Bileka (Ukr) Zoccorinese Vellutex Colnago
9 Virgile Palisse (Fra) UC Chateauroux - Laboratoires Fenioux
10 Robin Sharmen (GBr) Nantes 44 Cyclisme
11 Arnaud Coyot (Fra) Cyclo club de Nogent-sur-Oise                 1.40
12 Sergey Lagutin (Uzb) Zoccorinese Vellutex Colnago
13 Cédric Fontbonnat (Fra) UC Chateauroux - Laboratoires Fenioux
14 Raphaël Bastin (Bel) R.C. Pesant Club Liégeois                   1.45
15 Steven De Decker (Bel) W.C. Eddy Merckx Boys                     1.52
16 Mikaël Mille (Fra) Velo Club de Roubaix
17 Jan Deutschmann (Ger) RG Giant Frankfurt
18 Kristoffer Ingeby (Swe) CC Etupes le Doubs
19 Jimmy Engoulvent (Fra) Vendée U. Pays de la Loire
20 Reto Kung (Swi) Hormann Scheidegger
21 Gianluca Moi (Ita) Zoccorinese Vellutex Colnago
22 Christophe Lemevel (Fra) Crédit Agricole Espoirs
23 Pascal Vercauteren (Bel) W.C. Eddy Merckx Boys
24 Sylvain Calzati (Fra) Super Sport 23 La Creuse en Limousin       1.59
25 Kilian Patour (Fra) Cercle Gambetta Orléans-Loiret
26 Grégory Habeaux (Bel) Kortrijk Groeninge Spurters
27 Jonathan Maquaire (Fra) Pole France Wasquehal
28 Kon Barbe (Bel) Wielergroep Beveren 2000
29 Nicolas Venuat (Fra) Orléanais
30 Joseph Lemoine (Fra) CAC 41
31 Romuald Senechal (Fra) Orléanais
32 Niels Brouzes (Fra) CM Aubervilliers 93
33 Charles Dionne (Can) Canada
34 Pieter Duyck (Bel) Wielergroep Beveren 2000
35 Antoine Nys (Fra) Velo Club de Roubaix
36 Sjef De Wilde (Bel) ABX Go Pass Cycling Team
37 Geoffroy Lequatre (Fra) Cercle Gambetta Orléans-Loiret
38 Laurent Mangel (Fra) CC Etupes le Doubs
39 Patrick Betz (Ger) RG Giant Frankfurt
40 Julien Guiborel (Fra) CM Aubervilliers 93
41 Eric Trokimo (Fra) Cyclo club de Nogent-sur-Oise
42 Wouter Van Mechelen (Bel) W.C. Eddy Merckx Boys
43 David Boucher (Fra) Pole France Wasquehal
44 Joost Vanmeermaeghe (Bel) ABX Go Pass Cycling Team
45 Andri Le Bedev (Est) Amical Velo Club Aixois
46 Nicolas Tarenne (Fra) CAC 41
47 Jean-François Laroche (Can) Canada
48 Martial Ricci-Poggi (Fra) VC La Pomme Marseille
49 Riadh Bhatout (Tun) CM Aubervilliers 93
50 Martin Gilbert (Can) Canada
51 Sébastien Foucher (Fra) Cercle Gambetta Orléans-Loiret
52 Christophe Riblon (Fra) Cyclo club de Nogent-sur-Oise
53 Jonathan Mccarty (USA) Etats-Unis
54 Johan Coenen (Bel) ABX Go Pass Cycling Team
55 Yanto Barker (GBr) Velo Club de Roubaix
56 Jonathan Retselk (USA) Etats-Unis
57 Dennis Kraft (Ger) RG Giant Frankfurt
58 Mark Fitzgerald (USA) Etats-Unis
59 Jérôme Bouchet (Fra) UC Chateauroux - Laboratoires Fenioux
60 Johan Vansummeren (Bel) W.C. Eddy Merckx Boys
61 Ludovic Guichard (Fra) Amical Velo Club Aixois
62 Julien Mazet (Fra) Super Sport 23 La Creuse en Limousin
63 Steven Cacthouen (Bel) Wielergroep Beveren 2000
64 Denis Lamberti (Fra) Vélo club Lyon Vaulx-en-Velin
65 Marc Staelen (Fra) CAC 41
66 Laurent Mothe (Fra) CM Aubervilliers 93
67 Davy Coenen (Bel) Kortrijk Groeninge Spurters
68 Pierre Drancourt (Fra) E.S.E.G. Douai
69 Preben Van Hecke (Bel) W.C. Eddy Merckx Boys
70 Olegs Melehs (Lat) R.C. Pesant Club Liégeois
71 Gaylord Tourneur (Fra) Le Cycle Poitevin
72 Cédric Coutouly (Fra) Crédit Agricole Espoirs
73 Sébastien Chevau (Fra) Nantes 44 Cyclisme
74 Tarmo Raudsepp (Est) Nantes 44 Cyclisme
75 Yves Delarue (Fra) Super Sport 23 La Creuse en Limousin          2.20
76 Vincent Cayzeele (Fra) Velo Club de Roubaix                      2.46
77 Gerrit Henrich (Ger) RG Giant Frankfurt
78 Vincent Socquin (Fra) Super Sport 23 La Creuse en Limousin
79 Christophe Graczyk (Fra) Orléanais
80 Sébastien Fournier (Fra) Crédit Agricole Espoirs                 2.57
81 Guillaume Pont (Fra) Amical Velo Club Aixois                     3.29
82 Hedson Mathieu (Fra) CAC 41
83 Jan Kuyckx (Bel) W.C. Eddy Merckx Boys
84 Kristoph Gryson (Bel) Kortrijk Groeninge Spurters                3.34
85 Benny De Schrooder (Bel) ABX Go Pass Cycling Team
86 Markus Eichler (Ger) RG Giant Frankfurt                          4.16
87 Rony Martias (Fra) Vendée U. Pays de la Loire                    5.21
88 José Da Silva (Fra) Velo Club de Roubaix
89 Jerôme Morier (Fra) CAC 41
90 Yvan Bouteloup (Fra) CM Aubervilliers 93                         6.49
91 Mathieu Paris (Fra) Cyclo club de Nogent-sur-Oise                6.56
92 Pierre Cherbonnet (Fra) Seat Sport VC Dinan
93 Cédric Riche (Fra) E.S.E.G. Douai                                7.46
94 Mickaël Kirsch (Fra) CC Etupes le Doubs                         12.22
95 Jurgen Van Loocke (Bel) Kortrijk Groeninge Spurters

World Cup standings after round 9

1 Erik Dekker (Ned) Rabobank                          318
2 Erik Zabel (Ger) Team Deutsche Telekom              250
3 Romans Vainsteins (Lat) Domo-Farm Frites            229
4 Paolo Bettini (Ita) Mapei-Quick Step                195
6 Francesco Casagrande (Ita) Mercatone Uno            153
7 Oscar Camenzind (Swi) Lampre Daikin                 141
8 Gianluca Bortolami (Ita) Mapei-Quick Step           130
9 Johan Museeuw (Bel) Mapei-Quick Step                116
10 Serge Baguet (Bel) Lotto Adecco                     96
11 George Hincapie (USA) US Postal Service             89
14 Chris Peers (Bel) Collstrop-Palmans                 68
15 Michele Bartoli (Ita) Mercatone Uno                 65
16 Andrei Tchmil (Bel) Lotto Adecco                    64
19 Igor Astarloa (Spa) Mercatone Uno                   54
22 Eddy Mazzoleni (Ita) Saeco Macchine Per Caffe       39
24 Nico Mattan (Bel) Cofidis                           30
25 Piotr Wadecki (Pol) Mroz-Supradyn Witaminy          28
26 Niki Aebersold (Swi) Team Coast                     24
27 Marc Lotz (Ned) Rabobank                            20
28 Jo Planckaert (Bel) Collstrop-Palmans               19
29 Arvis Piziks (Lat) Rabobank                         18
31 Leon Van Bon (Ned) Rabobank                         12
34 Raphael Schweda (Ger) Team Coast                     6
35 Cédric Vasseur (Fra) US Postal Service               5
36 Christophe Brandt (Bel) Lotto Adecco                 5
38 Karsten Kroon (Ned) Rabobank                         2

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