Marseille prosecutor opens investigation targeting members of Bahrain Victorious team “for acquisition, transport, possession, import of a substance or method prohibited for use by an athlete without medical justification”.
The Bahrain Victorious team competing at the Tour de France has been raided by French police as part of a doping investigation.
The team confirmed in a statement on Thursday that riders' rooms were searched by officers at the hotel it stayed in in the southwestern city of Pau.
In a statement to The Associated Press, 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, without further details.
🗞 Team Bahrain Victorious official statement @LeTour #TDF2021https://t.co/IlvAyVlqM5— Team Bahrain Victorious (@BHRVictorious) July 15, 2021
Team requested to provide training files
About 25 officers from a special public health unit (OCLAESP) in charge of the case were involved in the search, according to 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," the team said.
“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," technical director Vladimir Miholjević 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 Thursday's stage in the Pyrenees, Peio Bilbao of Spain is the 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.
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