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Swiss authorities to consider Virenque ban

Virenque is driven from court following his doping confession Keystone

The Swiss cycling federation will consider a ban of up to one year for French rider Richard Virenque after he admitted to a French court on Tuesday that he had taken performance-enhancing drugs.

The former Festina rider has been charged with helping and inciting the administration of illegal substances to members of his team during the 1998 Tour de France. In his admission to the court Virenque confessed that he had taken drugs but insisted he had no choice.

After the doping scandal broke, Virenque was banned from riding in France. He then settled in Switzerland and received a racing licence from the Swiss federation. As a result Virenque now comes under Swiss jurisdiction.

Although Virenque was never found guilty of having taken drugs, UCI officials said his admission that he had done so would have serious consequences.

“For us an admittance of taking drugs is the same as being found positive in a doping control,” UCI media chief Enrico Carpani told Reuters news agency. “We have a regulation that states a confession is like a positive sample.”

Carpani said that the court documents would be passed on to the Swiss federation, whose subsequent actions would be supervised by the UCI.

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SWI - a branch of Swiss Broadcasting Corporation SRG SSR

SWI - a branch of Swiss Broadcasting Corporation SRG SSR