Police Raid Bahrain Victorious Hotel and Team Bus at the Tour de France

FRENCH AUTHORITIES HAVE LAUNCHED A PRELIMINARY INVESTIGATION INTO THE BAHRAIN VICTORIOUS TEAM (WHICH IS PROCLAIMING TOTAL INNOCENCE).


AFP/Bicycling.com |

  • French police searched the Bahrain Victorious cycling team’s hotel rooms and team bus after Stage 17 of the Tour de France on Wednesday, July 14.
  • Files on the riders were confiscated by the police, and a preliminary investigation is underway.

French police searched the hotel rooms and team bus of the Bahrain Victorious cycling team taking part at the Tour de France in an anti-doping raid that went on for several hours overnight. The raid took place late Wednesday and carried on until around 2 a.m. local time, sources close to the dossier told AFP in Pau, France, on Thursday.

Bahrain Victorious has won two stages on the 2021 edition: Slovenian rider Matej Mohoric claimed stage seven and Dylan Teuns triumphed on stage eight.

The team’s climb specialist climber, Wout Poels of the Netherlands, wore a grim smile as he lined up on the front row of stage 18 on Thursday wearing the polka-dot jersey.

The team’s press officer said the team had complied with all that was requested of them from the police, and that they were now expecting an explanation for the raid. The sports director of the team, Croatian Vladimir Miholjevic, said his riders were shaken.

“Following stage 17, we were greeted by several French police officers. We were not given a warrant to read through, but the team complied with all the officers’ requests,” he said.

“The process had impacted our riders’ recovery and meal planning,” he said after access to team facilities was temporarily denied overnight. “We are committed to the highest level of professionalism and adherence to all regulatory requirements.”

The police unit concerned confirmed the raids and said files on the riders had been confiscated.

The Movistar team was at the same hotel as Bahrain Victorious, but no searches were carried out of the Spanish team in the overnight operation.

The outfit leads the Teams standings and may be in line for two awards on the final Tour de France ceremony in Paris on Sunday.

Police told AFP the affair was in its preliminary stages.

“A preliminary inquiry has been opened to see if there has been, or not, acquisition, transport or possession of banned substances,” the Marseille-based police unit dealing with public health matters overseeing the matter told AFP.

The president of the anti-doping group Movement for Credible Cycling (MPCC) told AFP much still needed to be done in the fight to find cheats.

“We can see doping controls are taking place but the doubts linger, we have to try and diminish those doubts,” Roger Legeay said.

The Tour finishes on the Champs-Élysées on Sunday.

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