UCI president welcomes police collaboration in Bahrain-Victorious investigation

Lappartient says that no rider or team is 'outside of the rules' and the authorities will decide if any wrongdoing has taken place.

Photo: Stuart Franklin/Getty Images

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COPENHAGEN, Denmark (VN) — UCI president David Lappartient has welcomed the ongoing police investigation into Bahrain-Victorious, saying that no team or rider is “outside of the rules.”

Bahrain-Victorious has been the subject of several police raids across Europe in the last week as part of a doping investigation opened by the French police during last year’s Tour de France. Several staff and riders had their homes searched ahead of the race while Danish police searched the team’s hotel in Copenhagen on Thursday.

Law enforcement agency Europol revealed today that it had seized quantities of medication and electronics as part of these raids.

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Speaking following the opening stage of the Tour de France in Copenhagen, Lappartient said that collaboration between the various police forces and the International Testing Agency (ITA) was vital in the fight against doping in the sport. He added that it would be up to the relevant authorities to decide whether or not Bahrain-Victorious, or any of its staff or riders, had broken any rules.

“First of all, I welcome all of the investigations with the gendarmerie (police -ed) from different countries,” Lappartient said. “That’s really important for us because the UCI is responsible in the fight against doping. We gave our power to the International Testing Agency (ITA) but for this, we also need some collaborations with the different police and that’s the case here. I just welcome this high-level collaboration.

“Afterwards, it will be for the police and the judge to decide, just to show that the riders and the teams, nobody is outside the rules and the different laws. We will continue to fight against doping.”

The police raids took place between June 27 and 30 across 14 separate locations in six different countries. It is part of the same investigation that saw French police raid the Bahrain-Victorious team hotel during the 2021 Tour de France.

The investigation is being run by the Central Office against Environmental and Public Health Crime (OCLAESP) under the supervision of the France’s public prosecutor’s office in Marseille.

Lappartient said that he was not being provided with any updates about the investigation and that it was up to the ITA and the authorities in France to coordinate.

“We don’t have any direct contact, not on my level because I’m not involved directly. It’s more in between the ITA, and the French police and prosecutors. They have a direct link because of the investigation but not directly at our level,” Lappartient said.

Lappartient said that he was not surprised to see the police target a team at the Tour de France.

“We knew that this case has been open for 12 months before, so they have been working on this. As the Tour de France is the biggest event in the world and this is why probably they have focused on this event,” he said.

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