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Last Updated: Sunday, 25 July, 2004, 16:46 GMT 17:46 UK
Virenque seals record
Richard Virenque
Richard Virenque wrapped up his seventh Tour de France King of the Mountains title with a gutsy display on stage 17.

The Frenchman latched onto a break by Christophe Moreau and then chased down early leader Gilberto Simoni to win a string of climbers' points.

And although the trio were caught at the end, Virenque had already done enough to secure his seventh polka dot jersey in Paris.

He had shared the record with Federico Bahamontes and Belgian Lucien Van Impe.

"That jersey means a lot to me," said Virenque. "My first was in 1994 and it's 10 years ago already.

When I saw the way Lance started winning the Tour, I knew it was useless going for overall victory
Richard Virenque

"It's been 10 years and I'm still around. I won a stage again, like I did last year and the year before."

Virenque said he was proud to have stood the test of time.

"I've known the Indurain era, the Ullrich era and then the Armstrong era.

"When I saw the way Lance started winning the Tour, I knew it was useless going for overall victory," he said.

"I went back to chasing the King of the Mountains jersey and I'm glad I did."

At 35, the Quick Step leader is nearing the end of the road but is considering riding for one more year.

"We will discuss it with (Quick Step team chief) Patrick Lefevere after the Tour to see what we do next season.

"If I feel I still have the legs and the motivation, why not?"





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