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Swiss hold key to future of cycling star

Richard Virenque at the Lille court hearing last week


The French cyclist, Richard Virenque, is this week facing a decision by cycling authorities in Switzerland which, he says, could curtail his highly successful career.

The Swiss Cycling Federation is to meet in Bern on Friday to decide whether to suspend Virenque - a former member of the Festina race team - because of his admission that he took drugs.

Swiss cycling officials could ban him from racing for at least six months - a measure which Virenque said last week could end his star-studded career.

Virenque comes under the jurisdiction of the Swiss Cycling Federation, which will be acting on behalf of the International Cycling Union.

"I'm afraid of another trial" he said on Friday about the upcoming hearing in Bern.

Virenque was speaking after a court in the French town of Lille acquitted him of charges of supplying banned performance-enhancing drugs to members of his Festina team before the 1998 Tour de France.

The court convicted Festina's former trainer and the former team physiotherapist, as well as six other defendants, of using and administering the banned substances.

Virenque has a home near Geneva and holds a Swiss professional licence. He currently rides for an Italian team.

swissinfo with agencies

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