Team Bahrain Victorious, who are competing at the Tour de France, has been raided by French police as part of a doping investigation.
- Team Bahrain Victorious confirmed the riders’ rooms and bus were searched by police officers
- The team say they are “unaware of the investigation reasons”
- French prosecutors say they have opened a preliminary investigation into doping allegations against the team
The team confirmed in a statement the riders’ rooms were searched by police officers at the hotel it stayed in in the south-western city of Pau ahead of Thursday’s 18th stage.
The team bus was also searched by police.
“Despite being unaware of the investigation reasons, the team was also requested to provide all training files, which were compiled and presented to the officers as requested,” Team Bahrain Victorious said in its statement.
French prosecutors confirmed they have opened a preliminary investigation into doping allegations against the team.
The Marseille prosecutor in charge of the case said a preliminary investigation targeting members of the team was opened on July 3 “for acquisition, transport, possession, import of a substance or method prohibited for use by an athlete without medical justification”.
Judicial officials in Pau confirmed “judiciary actions” took place at the team hotel, but did not provide further details.
Police said about 25 officers from a special public health unit in charge of the case were involved in the search.
“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,” Team Bahrain Victorious technical director Vladimir Miholjevic said.
“The process had impacted our riders’ recovery and meal planning, and as a professional team the wellbeing of our team is a key priority.”
Ahead of the 18th stage in the Pyrenees, Peio Bilbao of Spain is the team’s top-placed rider in the general classification, lagging nearly 13 minutes behind Tour de France leader Tadej Pogacar.
Team leader Jack Haig crashed out early in the race, breaking a collarbone.
The seven Team Bahrain Victorious riders remaining in the race have, however, been performing well since, posting two stage wins.
Slovenian Matej Mohoric earned his first stage win on the Tour following a long breakaway in stage seven and Dylan Teuns won in the Alps.
In addition, Wouter Poels holds the best climber’s polka-dot jersey ahead of Pogacar.