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Team officials confirmed Thursday morning that officers searched riders’ and staff rooms. Some training files were taken during the search but no arrests were made.
Mohorič, who won on stage 7, was defiant as he spoke to the press in Pau ahead of the Tour’s final mountain stage. He said he was not worried about any findings, and questioned the authority’s decision to search the hotel.
“I don’t feel uncomfortable because they went through all my stuff because I have nothing to hide, I don’t care. They went through all the phones and messages, they took some riders’ phones and computers,” Mohorič told the media before stage 18.
“I still find it a little bit weird that at this time in this year they still believe we are doing something illegal. We are more determined than ever to go out there to do as well as we did up to this point, to take control of the race, the team classification. We are more focused than ever to do this mountain stage.”
— Team Bahrain Victorious (@BHRVictorious) July 15, 2021
France has very strict anti-doping laws and offenders can be given hefty fines or even jail time if they are found guilty. The environment and public health police division, which is responsible for enforcing the anti-doping laws, has often targeted teams at the Tour de France.
Last year, the authorities raided the hotel rooms of Arkéa-Samsic and an official inquiry was opened, but no charges were filed.
Mohorič said the police search meant riders had to go without their usual post-stage massage and could not eat dinner.
“There were like 50 of them, they talked to every single one of us. They didn’t ask us any questions, but they went through our belongings and our personal stuff, computers, phones,” he said.
“Of course, they didn’t find anything because we don’t have anything. We were left without massage, without dinner yesterday. We ate some snacks in our room. What can we do? It’s Tour de France and if we have something to prove, we have something to prove. We don’t care, we will go out today and race like it never happened.”
Italian champion Sonny Colbrelli said the riders got very little sleep as police searched their rooms well into the night, adding that it was a bad image for the sport.
“They searched all the rooms, the gendarmes were good and were just doing their job. They put everything back the way they found it in an orderly fashion,” Colbrelli said. “We’re good, a bit nervous because these aren’t great things for cycling. These are the last days of the Tour, yesterday was a hard stage and we could not sleep until 2:30 or 3:00 am, and then this morning we were up again early.”
Stage 18 from Pau to Luz Ardiden is the final mountain test for the peloton of this year’s Tour de France with a sprint stage and a time trial to come before the final ride into Paris.