Bahrain Victorious raided by police at Tour de France 2021

The team said officers searched riders’ rooms and asked for training files

Bahrain Victorious at the 2021 Tour de France
(Image credit: Michael Steele/Getty Images)

Bahrain Victorious were raided by police after the finish of stage 17 of the Tour de France 2021. 

The team has confirmed that after arriving at the team hotel in Pau, officers from French police requested to search rider hotel rooms and to see training files, after the news was initially reported by Cycling News. 

Bahrain Victorious said they have not been informed of the reasons for the raid but added they are cooperating with police. 

A statement from the team, released on the Thursday (July 15) before the start of stage 18, said: “On the eve of stage 18 of the Tour de France, Bahrain Victorious were subject to an investigation by French police. The team were monitored by a number of officers following their arrival after stage 17 to the team hotel in Pau.

“The investigation involved a search of riders’ rooms as part of the process. Despite being unaware of the investigation reasons, the team was also requested to provide all training files which were compiled and presented to the officers as requested.” 

Technical director of the team, Vladimir Miholjevič said: “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.

“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 had impacted our riders’ recovery and meal planning. As a professional team, the well-being of our team is a key priority.” 

The Bahrain-registered WorldTour team has picked up two stage wins in this year’s Tour so far, first with Matej Mohorič on stage seven in Le Creusot and again the following day with Dylan Teuns in Le Grand-Bornand. Their chosen sprinter Sonny Colbrelli has also featured in the sharp end of mountain stages, finishing third on the summit finish in Tignes and second in Pyrenees on stage 16. 

This is not the first time the team has been under investigation in recent years, as the team’s general manager was forced to deny any involvement with the doctor at the centre of the Operation Aderlass blood doping case last year. 

Milan Eržen, was accused of contacting doping doctor Dr Mark Schmidt to “enter into a business relationship,” a court in Germany heard during Schmidt’s trial. 

Eržen denied any relationship with Schmidt, who has since been jailed for four years. 

In 2019, Bahrain rider Kristijan Koren was pulled from the Giro d’Italia by his team after he was named by the UCI as a rider connected with the Aderlass case, along with assistant sports director for the team Borut Božič. 

Koren and his compatriot Božič were later banned for two years each and were fired by the team, then Bahrain-Merida.