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January 13, 2004

French police raid Cofidis HQ

Eurosport | Drug storm hits Cofidis

Police Monday raided the headquarters of the French Cofidis team of reigning world champions Igor Astarloa and David Millar. The squad's current trainer and one of its former team members, Marek Rutkiewicz, are suspected of operating a "vast" drug ring between Eastern Europe and the peloton, reports French daily L'Equipe.

Police stopped Rutkiewicz at de Gaulle airport in Paris on Tuesday, and reportedly found "doping paraphernalia" at the airport.

Apparently, police have also tapped the phone and searched the home of Cofidis trainer Bogdan Madejak.

Official reaction from Francis Van Londersele, the team's manager:

"I'm not worried," the team's manager, Francis Van Londersele, told L'Equipe, stressing that, even if the squad's trainer is in the crossfire, the formation's current stable of riders -- including world champs David Millar (time trial) and Igor Astarloa (road) -- is not.

"Rutkiewicz is no longer a part of this team," Londersele said of the Polish rider dismissed by Cofidis after the 2003 season. "We let him go because of his lack of results -- not for a question of doping."

Also:

Yahoo! Sport | French police probe top cycling team
VeloNews | Rutkiewicz arrested; Valverde looking; Armstrong planning; Moncassin hired

Update: 5:10 p.m. EST -- BBC Sport reports the raid at Cofidis headquarters turned up nothing incriminating.

Posted by Frank Steele on January 13, 2004 in Cofidis probe, Tour news | Permalink

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