Cycling-Danish police search Bahrain Victorious hotel ahead of Tour de France

Team Bahrain Victorious' staff work outside Scandic Glostrup hotel, in Glostrup, Denmark, June 30, 2022. Ritzau Scanpix/Bo Amstrup via REUTERS

COPENHAGEN (Reuters) -Danish police carried out a search at the hotel of cycling team Bahrain Victorious at the request of French authorities on Thursday, Copenhagen Police said in a statement on the eve of the Tour de France Grand Depart.

Authorities searched all team vehicles and the rooms of staff and riders at 5:30 a.m. local time in Brondby. The homes of riders and staff were also searched by police on Monday before their departure for the Tour.

French prosecutors opened a preliminary investigation into doping allegations against Bahrain Victorious after police searched the team's hotel late in last year's race.

"Based on a request from the French police, as part of an ongoing investigation in France, we have carried out a search at a hotel in Brondby," Chief Superintendent Dannie Rise said.

"We have no further information about the operation, and I shall refer you to the French police for more about the investigation itself."

The team said in a statement that it fully cooperated with the authorities and the search was completed within two hours.

"No items were seized from the team," it added.

They did not offer any further details about the incident later on Thursday, saying that their focus was solely on this year's Tour, which begins on Friday in Copenhagen.

"We'd like to share with you information about the investigation but we don't have more to say than what we said via our press release," performance director Vladimir Miholjevic told reporters.

"In this moment the team is fully focused on the big race in front of us and achieving our sports goals."

Tour organisers declined to comment when contacted by Reuters.

Bahrain Victorious won three stages in last year's Tour. Their accommodation was raided after the 17th stage.

At the time, the prosecutor's office in Marseille said the investigation was into "acquisition, transport, possession, import of a prohibited substance or prohibited method for use by an athlete without medical justification".

(Reporting by Stine Jacobsen, Hritika Sharma and Dhruv Munjal, editing by Peter Rutherford and Toby Davis)

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