Gendarmes and public health officials have raided the Cofidis team hotel in Bourg-en-Bresse during the Tour de France's first rest day on Tuesday, French newspaper L'Equipe has reported.
Cofidis rider Remy Di Gregorio has been arrested in relation to charges of doping and has been suspended by the team. Two further men in Marseille were placed in custody as part of the police action.
According to L'Equipe, Di Gregorio's arrest is part of a long-running investigation into his former Astana team. The 26-year-old was recorded by investigators making a phone call to a drug trafficker, triggering the arrest.
Cofidis called a press conference
this afternoon. The team released a statement earlier confirming that Di
Gregorio had been suspended, but saying that it was an 'isolated incident'
within the team and that, after speaking to Tour director Christian Prudhomme, the squad would not be withdrawing from the race.
Team manager Yvon Sanquer confirmed at the
press conference that Di Gregorio would be suspended until further notice adding his
contract will be terminated if found guilty of doping offences.
"We have made the decision with the sponsor to stop the rider from racing," Sanquer said. "And after, if it is true [the allegations of doping], then it's the finish for him in the team, the contact is broken."
Whilst maintaining that the rest of the team was in no way linked to Di Gregorio's possible misdemeanors, he stressed that the the Cofidis team would be making changes to help identify any riders involved with doping in the future.
"It's not a good news for cycling or for the Tour de France. But we must continue to work and you have to take care that another rider on the team, and in general, doesn't make a mistake like that again."
"We must see if we can improve the situation. It's impossible to have 100% success in this kind of problem, but we have an obligation to do everthing that it is possible to do with [combating] doping."
It is not the first time that Cofidis has been involved with doping allegations during the Tour. In 2007 Italian rider Cristian Moreni admitted to doping which led to the withdrawal of the entire team.
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Tour de France 2012 provisional start list
Tour de France 2012 team list
Tour de France 2012: Stage reports
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Stage seven: Wiggins takes yellow as Froome wins stage
Stage six: Sagan wins third Tour stage
Stage five: Greipel wins again as Cavendish fades
Stage four: Greipel wins stage after Cavendish crashes
Stage three: Sagan runs away with it in Boulogne
Stage two: Cavendish takes 21st Tour stage victory
Stage one: Sagan wins at first attempt
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Tour de France 2012: Photo galleries
Stage nine by Graham Watson
Stage eight by Graham Watson
Stage seven by Graham Watson
Stage six by Graham Watson
Stage five by Graham Watson
Stage four by Graham Watson
Stage three by Graham Watson
Stage two by Andy Jones
Stage two by Graham Watson
Stage one by Graham Watson
Prologue photo gallery by Andy Jones
Prologue photo gallery by Roo Rowler
Prologue photo gallery by Graham Watson
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Stage five live coverage
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ITV4 live schedule
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