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Richard Virenque gets on his bike and heads to Belgium

HOT on the 'lantern rouge' of Gérard Depardieu is former Tour de France cyclist, Richard Virenque, as he pedals across the border to set up a home in Belgium.

Recognised as a mountain specialist in the Tour, Richard Virenque has won the red polka dot jersey for best climber and is a French sporting hero.

But whether that popularity will now slide is open to question as he has confirmed that he will be moving to Brussels, saying it is to help improve the energy drink company he heads.

Richard Virenque is just one of many successful French business people who have moved to Belgium as personal tax rates are much lighter there than in France.

The issue made the headlines recently when Gérard Depardieu publicly fell out with the French government over its plans to introduce a 75% tax rate for income over €1 million.

Depardieu bought a house a few hundred metres over the Belgian border and went as far as renouncing his French citizenship, while Russian president Vladimir Putin granted the actor citizenship.

At present the 75% tax rate has been blocked by the constitutional council and it currently awaits redrafting.

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I see Mr Beckham isn't too popular as he thought he might be by giving his wages to charity... but being very crafty by leaving the wife and kids in London and only signing a 5 month contract not 18 months as was thought.

It means that he isn't classed as resident in France and therefore avoids the higher tax rate on the rest of his £20m a year income from other deals in his worldwide income....

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