The French Police raided Bahrain Victorious and seized medicines and electronics. The news was confirmed by the French Officials on Thursday, 30th June. Police also searched the homes of staff members and riders. The movement came in due to the international anti-doping operation. The operation started on Monday, i.e. 27th June, before the team traveled for Tour de France.
OFFICIAL STATEMENT https://t.co/UuBPO78wbZ
— Team Bahrain Victorious (@BHRVictorious) June 30, 2022
Following Monday, another raid was conducted on 30th June, Thursday, as the Danish authorities pounced on the hotel in Copenhagen, where the team is stationed for the tour, and searched the premises ahead of the Tour.
The Danish Officials revealed that the operation is being led by the French authorities, who, at first, did not agree to comment on the matter whatsoever. Later on, the Public Prosecutor’s office (Marseille) released a statement that read:
Between June 27 and 30, 2022, a collective international judicial and police operation was carried out across Italy, Spain, Belgium, Poland, Slovenia, Croatia, and Denmark
In the statement, it is confirmed that the homes of three riders were searched and items were seized. Damiano Caruso (Bahrain Victorious) has been identified as one of the three riders, the other two are not yet verified:
The operation, coordinated by Eurojust with the help of Europol, allowed the judicial and police authorities of those countries to carry out several searches at the homes of the manager, three riders, the osteopath, and a doctor of the professional cycling team Bahrain Victorious, as well as at the headquarters of WINNING SRL, the team’s holding company
The statement further read:
A search of hotel rooms occupied by members of the cycling team in Copenhagen was also carried out today
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The nature of the seized items was also explained in the statement:
Electronic material (phones, computers, hard drives) and medicines – of which the nature and origin remain undetermined, or which require a prescription – have been seized
The seized items will be sent for further analysis and investigation.
At the Tour de France of 2021, police conducted raids on the team’s hotel at midnight. As per the last year’s statement of the police:
Acquisition, transportation, possession, and importing of a prohibited substance or method for use by an athlete without justification by members of Team Bahrain Victorious
Trials of Tizanidine, a muscle relaxant, were found in the hair samples of the riders. However, the drug is not prohibited by the World Anti-Doping Agency, but the finding stipulated the unapproved use of the medication.
The riders of the team Bahrain Victorious are not commenting on the matter. In their press conference, prior to the Tour beginning, all the questions related to the raids went ignored as the team emphasizes that the Tour is their priority.
Featured Image Via YouTube/ FloBikes