Danish police raided the Bahrain-Victorious team hotel early on Thursday after recent searches at the homes of team members, the Marseille public prosecutor’s office announced. On the eve of the start of the Tour de France in Copenhagen, the prosecutor’s office said the raids were part of an investigation into “offenses against the law on doping and poisonous substances”.

“Between 27 and 30 June 2022, a cooperative international judicial and police action was carried out jointly in Italy, Spain, Belgium, Poland, Slovenia, Croatia and Denmark,” it said in a statement.

“This action… enabled the judicial and police authorities of the countries concerned to carry out searches at the homes of the manager, three riders, the osteopath and a doctor of the Bahrain-Victorious professional cycling team, as well as at the head office of WINNING Srl, the team’s owner,” the statement added.

“A search of the hotel rooms occupied by members of the cycling team in Copenhagen was also carried out today,” it said.

Questions about Thursday’s raids led to an excruciating silence at Bahrain’s pre-Tour press conference in the afternoon. Two riders, Slovenian Matej Mohoric and the Australian Jack Haig, refused questions on the issue when faced by a bevvy of reporters. No other questions were forthcoming in an event scheduled to last 30 minutes and the conference was closed in record time. Bahrain performance director Vladimir Miholjevic then made a parting statement.

“The team are totally concentrated on the race and the riders will only answer questions about this,” he said.

While the Bahrain team said on Thursday morning that no items were seized during the search of its hotel in Brondby, on the eastern fringes of Copenhagen, the Marseille prosecutor’s office said that “electronic equipment (telephones, computers, hard drives) and medicines whose nature and origin remain undetermined or whose delivery is subject to prescription were seized”  during the searches.

“All of these seizures will be analyzed and processed at a later date,” it continued.

The Danish police officially confirmed the search of the hotel in Brondby, “on the basis of a warrant at the request of the French authorities”.

French police officers were present as observers, the Danish police said.

In a statement Bahrain-Victorious said that on Thursday “officers searched all the team’s vehicles, staff and riders’ rooms.”

“The team is now looking forward to focusing on the biggest cycling race in the world, the Tour de France. The team lamented the “damage to the reputation of the individuals and the team”.

On Monday, the team described the first raids as “intentionally damaging the team’s reputation.”

The team was also raided in Pau on last year’s Tour. No charges have been brought following that search.


RBA/AFP Photos: Sprint Cycling Agency

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