The Tour de France starts on Friday and there’s already drama. Danish police raided the Bahrain Victorious team hotel, the second time it’s happened this week. The team’s hotel in Brøndby was searched by police as part of an ongoing investigation by French prosecutors.
The team’s press conference was very short, just over eight minutes long, and the team refused to comment on the raid that happened earlier in the day. Later, however, the team posted a statement. “Following the police search into some staff and riders’ homes on Monday, the Team Bahrain Victorious hotel was searched by Danish police at the request of the French prosecutors this morning at 5:30 am. The officers searched all team vehicles, staff and riders’ rooms. The team fully cooperated with all the officers’ requests, and the search was completed within two hours. No items were seized from the team.”
The team was also raided at the 2021 Tour, where the team won three stages and took best team. 50 police officers would search every room that the riders were staying in vat the team’s hotel following the finish of stage 17. They seized laptops, tablets, phones and nd medical products. Just two following the raid,Matej Mohoric, won the stage. He held up his finger up to his lips after finishing “zip it”. Mohoric later said he did as he was angry and felt he had been treated like a criminal.
Drug raids at the Tour are nothing new, with the most infamous being that of the 1998 edition, the so-called Festina affair. The team ultimately withdrew and some of its staff were jailed.
Cycling took a major hit in popularity following the raid, however, the next year, an American rider with an unbelievable comeback story would make bike racing more popular than ever. That same rider would make the “zip it” gesture to the television camera, and many speculated it was symbolizing omerta, the mafia term which refers to the code of silence about criminal activity.