Bahrain Victorious still in the dark over ongoing anti-doping investigation

Spokesperson for team says that state-backed team ‘yet to receive any information regarding the investigation’

Bahrain Victorious
(Image credit: Getty Images)

The Bahrain Victorious cycling team are still in the dark regarding the ongoing anti-doping investigation that has surrounded them since 2021. 

On Friday afternoon, Cycling Weekly revealed that Europol are no longer involved in proceedings against the team and that the case was now “in the hands of the judiciary” in France. 

However, a spokesperson for Bahrain Victorious confirmed to Cycling Weekly this weekend that the team have received no further updates from investigators directly as to the status of the ongoing case. 

“Bahrain Victorious has yet to receive any information regarding the investigation,” the spokesperson said, “and until then, the team will continue cooperating with the prosecutor’s office.” 

The investigation first began at the 2021 Tour de France where the team had their hotel raided in Pau. Bahrain Victorious won three stages of the Tour that year, and recently retired Sonny Colbrelli said at the time that he felt the raid in Pau was sparked by “pure jealousy” of the team’s success. 

Bahrain Victorious celebrated stage victories from Dylan Teuns and Matej Mohorič last year.

At the time of the Pau raid, Mohorič said that the raid made him feel like a "drug dealer." 

Clouds of suspicion continued to hover around the team before the Tour in July this year. 

Prior to the race beginning in Denmark, riders and team staff had their homes searched across Europe with the raids coordinated by Europol. 

However, Europol has now confirmed that “The operational phase of the coordinated action against the use of prohibited substances in cycling races is over,” and that "the case is now in the hands of the judiciary.”

At the time of the searches across the continent, the team released a statement which said they believed the timing of the investigation was aimed at “intentionally damaging the team's reputation.” 

On arrival in Copenhagen for the beginning of the Tour this year, their team hotel was searched by Danish police on behalf of French prosecutors at 5:30am on the day before the race began. 

It was initially understood that nothing untoward had been seized from the team at the time of the raids, although it was later revealed by French prosecutors that electronics and medicines had been seized earlier on

Once the curtain fell on the Tour in Paris Bahrain Victorious’ general manager told Cycling Weekly that they had still not received updates from authorities, including Europol, on the situation. Milan Eržen said: “We don't have any answers. I cannot tell you anything because we don't have any information.” 

Despite Europol now confirming that they are no longer involved, there is continued silence from authorities in France. 

Until the team hears from the French prosecutors office the concern remains that the case is far from over. 

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