By Gregor Brown in Varese, Italy
Italian police raided the Luxembourg team hotel Friday evening in Varese, one day before the World Championships. Brothers Fränk and Andy Schleck were involved in the search carried out by Italy's Anti-Narcotics Group (NAS) of Milano.
Varese's prosecutor ordered the search and on the same day German newspaper Süddeutsche Zeitung reported alleged evidence of Fränk Schleck's monetary transfers to Doctor Eufemiano Fuentes, centre of the 2006 Operación Puerto investigation. NAS sent 15 men to Hotel Gonzaga in Gaggiolo, according to La Repubblica. NAS did not search Team Norway, who was also staying at the hotel, and it did not report on its findings.
Fränk, 28, finished sixth at the Tour de France and held the race leader's maillot jaune for two days. Andy, 23, finished 12th overall and won the maillot blanc of best young rider. Both Schleck brothers ride for Bjarne Riis' Team CSC-Saxo Bank.
"They were there for about an hour last night, they looked though my belongings, normal vitamins and they did not take anything from the room. Overall, I would have to say they were polite in their work," said Andy Schleck to Cyclingnews.
He commented that unfortunate the raid took place here at the Worlds. "We've seen similar things also happen at the Giro. ... I don't know their reasoning," he said. "I will race the worlds; we saw the course today."
Fränk Schleck has an appointment with his country's anti-doping office after the Worlds. "I can confirm that I have an appointment with the Luxembourg anti-doping committee, and I will, of course, take my time to explain these matters to them as well," he stated earlier this week. The exact meeting's details are unknown.
The Schlecks will race as scheduled with the other members of the nine-man national team. "I would not hold him back unless I have evidence. If the Luxembourg federation decides to take him out of the race, that would be their decision," said Pat McQuaid, International Cycling Union (UCI) President, today in Varese. "If it is proven true what has been alleged against him I would be extremely disappointed."