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Tour squads get 'routine' customs search

French customs officials pulled over at least four team buses of the squads contesting the Tour de France during yesterday's Stage 15. The team buses of the Rabobank, Team CSC, Discovery Channel and Astana squads were all pulled over on the A64 highway in France's southwest, near the town of St Gaudens, and boarded by customs officials who searched the vehicles in their entirety, including the personal effects of riders.

"They have searched the whole bus, they have searched the riders' personal effects," Astana spokeswoman Corinne Druey told Reuters. "They have found some prescription medicines but they did not take anything from the bus.

"The buses from the French teams have not been stopped, the customs have let them go," added Druey. "Now we are late. We have not reached the finish line yet."

The search, performed near the Spanish border was described as a 'routine check' by a Team CSC representative. It was a similar search of an Festina team car in 1998 that uncovered a stash of performance-enhancing drugs.

"We were stopped at the toll booth and they asked to see the papers and the contents of the bus and what we had in our fridge," Team CSC spokesperson Brain Nygaard told AP. "When you carry the things to the Tour for the riders, the vitamins, you need paperwork. It has to be according to how the French authorities want it. It took less than 15 minutes."

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