Virenque reconsiders retirement

A good Tour performance and selection for the Olympics are tempting Richard Virenque to stick around

A good Tour performance and selection for the Olympics are tempting Richard Virenque to stick around
PICTURE BY TIM DE WAELE Richard Virenque, leader of the Tour's King of the Mountains competition and in a good position to take the title for a record seventh time, is having second thoughts about retirement. The Frenchman was set to hang up his wheels at the end of this season, but after his good performance at the Tour, including a stage win in front of his adoring public at Saint Flour on Bastille Day, Virenque is considering extending his contract for an extra year with his Belgian team, Quick Step-Davitamon. Recent selection for the French team for the Olympic road race in August has also persuaded Virenque that he still has what it takes. "I'm very proud and happy to have been selected for Athens," Virenque said, who will join Laurent Brochard, Christophe Moreau, Sylvain Chavanel and yellow jersey hero Thomas Voeckler in the squad. "This will be my third participation at the Games. It's going to be hot there, but coming out of the Tour, I'm going to have good form." With the Olympic road race taking place on August 14, there are three weeks for Virenque to keep that form to a reasonable level. "I'm going to be riding some post-Tour criteriums, and then the San Sebastian Classic on August 7. But it's important to do a big race a week before to feel ready." Once it is time to finally retire - whether that's the end of this season or next - Virenque already has an inkling about what he might do with himself: he wants to open a health spa near Toulon.
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