Richard Virenque was one of the most popular French cyclists of the 1990s for his choir-boy good looks and his ability as a mountain climber. He would win the polka dot jersey at the Tour de France a record seven times, in 1994-97, 1999, and 2003-04, breaking the record of six wins in the mountain classification which had been jointly held by Federico Bahamontes and Lucien Van Impe. In addition to his many victories in mountain stages in the Tour de France, his other major single-day win came at Paris-Tours in 2001. He did win a bronze medal in the 1994 World Championship road race. In 1998 Virenque was a central figure in the Festina scandal, which involved doping accusations against several members of his Festina team, after their soigneur, Willy Voet, was found at a border crossing to have large amounts of drugs and doping paraphenalia in his car. Virenque was never implicated and always maintained his innocence. He was initially banned from the 1999 Tour but was reinstated by the UCI and allowed to ride. At a French trial in October 2000 into the Festina Affair, Virenque admitted to doping, but said that he never did it intentionally.