Tour de France: the Bahrain team in the sights of anti-doping investigators

For a year, the young cycling team has been in the sights of the authorities. Bahrain training announced Thursday, June 30 to have been the subject of a new search at its hotel, the second in three days, while its riders take the start of the Tour de France Friday morning in Copenhagen.

According to the team’s leaders, the searches were carried out by the Danish police, at the request of the French investigators. “Officers searched all team vehicles, staff and riders’ rooms,” added Bahrain, who said he did not want to do “no further comments on the subject” : “The team is now looking forward to focusing on the greatest cycling race in the world, the Tour de France. »

A previous search

A previous police operation took place on Monday, June 27. The investigators then searched the homes of members of the Bahrain team in several countries. “The investigation into the members of the team, which began almost a year ago and has produced no results, continues just before the start of the most important cycling race, the Tour de France, and damages the reputation of individuals and the team,” immediately denounced the training.

Suspicions of doping surrounding the formation financed by the kingdom of the same name of the Persian Gulf date back to the previous edition of the Grande Boucle. During a stage in Pau, the investigators found traces of tizanidine in the hair analyzes of several of the team’s riders.

This powerful muscle relaxant used in the treatment of multiple sclerosis is not prohibited by anti-doping regulations. These revelations, which leaked to the press in October 2021, had been denied by Barhain, who claimed not to have been informed of the discovery by the laboratory.

The team director in the crosshairs

Of the ten riders lined up by Barhain on the Tour last year, only three of them will be present on the starting line again on Friday, including Slovenian Matej Mohoric and Belgian Dylan Teuns, both stage winners in 2021.

The group was completed by another Slovenian, Jan Tratnik, the Italian Damiano Caruso, second in the Giro 2021, the Spanish veteran Luis Leon Sanchez (38) and the Pole Kamil Gradek.

The team, whose one of the leaders, the Italian Sonny Colbrelli, had the misfortune to make a cardiorespiratory arrest last March which interrupted his career, has for general manager Milan Erzen. The Slovenian was suspected in 2020 in connection with a blood doping case. He called the charges “completely false”.


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