Matej Mohoric has insisted he and his Bahrain Victorious team have “nothing to hide” after French authorities opened a doping investigation and raided the team’s hotel at the Tour de France.
Speaking in Pau on Thursday ahead of stage 18, the Slovenian national champion described the scenes at the hotel the previous night, explaining that around 50 police officers searched their personal belongings.
Mohoric found it “a little bit weird” that doping suspicions exist “even in the year 2021”, and described himself and his teammates as determined to race on, suggesting they will be “flying” in Thursday’s final mountain stage.
“We arrived super late at the hotel, at like 9pm, and the hotel was full of police immediately after,” he said.
“There were like 50 of them. They talked to everyone. They didn’t ask questions, they went through our belongings, our personal stuff, the buses, the trucks. They took some riders’ phones, some riders’ computers.
“Of course, they didn’t find anything because we don’t have anything. We were left without massage, without dinner. We dined in our rooms with just some snacks, but what can you do, this is the Tour de France, if we have something to prove, we have something to prove, we don’t care.”
News of the raid was first broken by Cyclingnews on Thursday morning and later confirmed in an official statement from the team. Just ahead of stage 18, the public prosecution office based in Marseille issued a statement announcing it had opened a doping investigation led by the OCLAESP, the public body that deals with health matters and investigated the Arkéa-Samsic team at last year’s Tour de France.
“It feels a little bit weird; as a rider, I have never experienced or been close to doping whatsoever. I don’t feel uncomfortable that they went through all my stuff because I have nothing to hide. I don’t care,” Mohoric said.“I still find it a bit weird that even in the year 2021 they still believe we are doing something illegal.”
The Bahrain Victorious riders set out from Pau to race stage 18 as leaders of the teams classification, and with Wout Poels in the polka-dot jersey as leader of the mountains classification. They will be out to defend both leads on what is the final mountain stage, as well as protecting Pello Bilbao’s position in the top 10 overall.
“We actually don’t care. We are more determined than ever to go out there, to show ourselves, to do as well as we did to this point, to take control of the race and the teams classification,” Mohoric said.“We are more focused than ever to do this last mountain stage and I think we are going to be flying today.”
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Deputy Editor - Europe. Patrick is an NCTJ-trained journalist who has seven years’ experience covering professional cycling. He has a modern languages degree from Durham University and has been able to put it to some use in what is a multi-lingual sport, with a particular focus on French and Spanish-speaking riders. After joining Cyclingnews as a staff writer on the back of work experience, Patrick became Features Editor in 2018 and oversaw significant growth in the site’s long-form and in-depth output. Since 2021 he has been Deputy Editor - Europe, taking more responsibility for the site’s content as a whole, while still writing and - despite a pandemic-induced hiatus - travelling to races around the world. Away from cycling, Patrick spends most of his time playing or watching other forms of sport - football, tennis, trail running, darts, to name a few, but he draws the line at rugby.
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