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French police searched hotel rooms of the Bahrain-Victorious hotel overnight at the Tour de France.
Team officials Thursday morning confirmed reports on Cyclingnews and other media outlets that police officers searched the team hotel in Pau on Wednesday evening. Movistar was also staying at the same hotel, however, the team was not targeted by the raid.
“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,” team technical director Vladimir Miholjević said in a statement Thursday.
“We are committed to [the] highest level of professionalism and adherence to all regulatory requirements and will always be cooperating in a professional manner. The process has impacted our riders recovery and meal planning and as a professional team, the well-being of our team is a key priority.”
Reuters and Cyclingnews reported that police searched the accommodation and team bus of the Bahrain Victorious team on the Tour de France on Wednesday after the 17th stage. Reuters also cited a source that French police had the team on its radar since last year.
L’Equipe reported that the raid was carried out by France’s environment and public health police division, called OCLAESP. No arrests were made but some training files were taken.
Riders and the team are expected to start Thursday’s 18th stage from Pau to Luz-Ardiden, the Tour’s final mountaintop finale in the Pyrénées.
Dozens of plain clothes police officers searched Bahrain Victorious rooms and vehicles until 2 am #TdF2021
— Julien Prétot (@julienpretotRTR) July 15, 2021
The police search appears to be the first during the 2021 Tour de France.
Last year, French authorities raided rooms of riders on the Arkéa-Samsic team and later opened an official inquiry, but no official charges were filed.
Bahrain-Victorious won back-to-back stages in the first week of 2021 Tour, and Dutch rider Wout Poels is currently leading the King of the Mountains classification.
More than two decades ago, police raids became commonplace at the Tour following the Festina Affair in 1998 that blew the lid open on organized doping within the ranks of professional cycling.