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Two others also arrested as police over alleged trafficking in banned substances

A French court has confirmed that a Team Cofidis rider along with two other unidentified men has been arrested in Marseille in connection with alleged doping offinces. The rider has been named by a French TV station as Rémi Di Gregorio.

In a statement released this afternoon Cofidis said:

“We have just learnt that one of our riders on the Tour de France may have tried to use banned substances to improve his performance,” the French team said in a statement on Tuesday. “Remy Di Gregorio is therefore suspended provisionally.”

Team management also confirmed that if found guilty Di Gregorio would be sacked by the team.

Sources in France are suggesting that the arrest and raid is the result of a year long investigation in to trafficking of doping products. 26 year old Di Gregorio, a climber, only joined Cofidis this season he was at Astana last year when the investiation in to his alleged actvities was opened  - before that he rode for FDJ.

Earlier one of the Tour de France's less welcome traditions - the rest day police raid on a team hotel - was resurrected when officers of the gendarmerie raided the Cofidis hotel in Bourg-en-Bresse, Di Gregorio was arrested shortly afterwards.

Team manager Yvon Sanquer who only joined Cofidis at the start of the Tour, (like Di Gregorio also from Astana) as replacment for Eric Bouyer sacked for a run of poor results in recent season offered no immediate comment to the press, but said the team would make a statement later this afternoon - see above.

Cofidis have not been a WorldTour team since 2009 when they were dropped for poor results from the then ProTour. As a leading French team, though, they did get a wildcard entry into this year's race. Orangiser's ASO may well now be regretting that decision - the French outfit were thrown off the 2007 Tour de France following a rest day police raid on the team hotel which lead to the banning of domestique Christian Moreni after he was found to have illegal levels of testosterone in his bloodstream - Moreni admitted the offence. Current Tour de France leader Bradley Wiggins was among the Cofidis riders forced to leave the Tour as a result of that incident - David Millar famously lending Wiggins a t-shirt to help him evade the press.

In 2004 the team was enguled in a doping scandal when both David Millar and a number of other riders were arrested for possesion and use of doping products - inlcuding four riders and a physio who were also arrested for possession of cocaine - following that upheaval the team withdrew temporarily from competition and the management was replaced.

Plucked from the obscurity of his London commute back in the mid-Nineties to live in Bath and edit bike mags our man made the jump to the interweb back in 2006 as launch editor of a large cycling website somewhat confusingly named after a piece of navigational equipment. He came up with the idea for road.cc mainly to avoid being told what to do… Oh dear, issues there then. Tony tries to ride his bike every day and if he doesn't he gets grumpy, he likes carbon, but owns steel, and wants titanium. When not on his bike or eating cake Tony spends his time looking for new ways to annoy the road.cc team. He's remarkably good at it.

14 comments

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notfastenough [3674 posts] 3 years ago
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here we go again...

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bikeandy61 [527 posts] 3 years ago
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Cofidis - what a shock. I have to say I was very dismayed when Wiggo joined them and very relieved when he got out. Not that I thought he would do anything illegal but I have a VERY low opinion of that team and amazed that they have been allowed to keep a top level license.

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Bigcog [21 posts] 3 years ago
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there will always be the rotten apples. Sad though it is for every sport.

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JonSP [65 posts] 3 years ago
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Let's wait for the full facts, but if another Cofidis rider really is involved in doping then it has to be the end for that team.

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seabass89 [212 posts] 3 years ago
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Bind, and gag them, hang them after their neck after one of the cars in tdf (Mavic, will you do the honours?)

That will send a message.

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Tony Farrelly [2868 posts] 3 years ago
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yes agree jonsp let's wait for the facts… some of what's coming out of France (story now updated) suggests that this is more about the rider and his past than anything to do with his current team.

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doc [167 posts] 3 years ago
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Although it's good to see that people are being investigated, does it not strike you as odd that the arrests are so neatly timed for a rest day, when little other news gets in the way of the magistrate's name being well to the fore? Or am I just being a tiny bit cynical?

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bikeandy61 [527 posts] 3 years ago
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Everyone does it. When did Floyd Landis start one of his rants about something or other? Either just prior to or during the tour to get maximum publicity.

Yes I did jump on the bandwagon about Cofidis but irrespective of this story their ability to retain sponsorship considering their past has always amazed me. How have they kept going when HTC could not get anyone interested? Amazing really, though that particular example could well be a nationality thing when you look at HTCs palmares and having never had a doubt cast about them (that I am aware of) while Cofidis have never set the world on fire performance wise that I can recollect but have certainly had their name in the mire to an alarming degree.

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Lacticlegs [124 posts] 3 years ago
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doc wrote:

Although it's good to see that people are being investigated, does it not strike you as odd that the arrests are so neatly timed for a rest day, when little other news gets in the way of the magistrate's name being well to the fore? Or am I just being a tiny bit cynical?

Nothing doing on your cynicism - I'm absolutely sure you're right. And good on them - max publicity, max shame, bury the rider and destroy any chance of positive publicity for the sponsor. keep that up and - maybe - eventually the cheating scumbags will get the message and we're left with a clean(ish) race.

can't wait!

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AWPeleton [3293 posts] 3 years ago
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If, as suggested, this was all started when he rode for Astana i dont think the organisers will get Cofidis to pull out of the tour. However Cofidis may well do it in any case just to save a bit of face.

It will be a shame if they go as in Taaramae, Moncoutie and Dumoulin they have some good, if not outstanding in Taaramae, riders.

Mind you no one likes a cheat  14

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Alan Tullett [1568 posts] 3 years ago
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I was hoping we were going to get a clean tour for once but if it's about the past it's no so bad as a positive test now.

On a less serious note I've just transferred him out of my team. Luckily I kept back a spare transfer in case something happened.

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a.jumper [846 posts] 3 years ago
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bikeandy61 wrote:

could well be a nationality thing when you look at HTCs palmares and having never had a doubt cast about them (that I am aware of) while Cofidis have never set the world on fire performance wise that I can recollect but have certainly had their name in the mire to an alarming degree.

HTC never having a doubt cast? The team that was known as T-mobile until the sponsor lost patience? (for what it's worth I think they'd cleaned up)

And telephone loan companies aren't known for having a problem with some people thinking they're annoying or evil are they?

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sam_smith [67 posts] 3 years ago
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Astana's dodgy meat wasn't just been scoffed by Contador then. When will riders learn to stop doping? The fans don't tolerate it, the official bodies don't tolerate it and the sponsors don't either (I'm amazed Confidis still bothers).

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RhysW [81 posts] 3 years ago
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bikeandy61 wrote:

Cofidis - what a shock. I have to say I was very dismayed when Wiggo joined them and very relieved when he got out. Not that I thought he would do anything illegal but I have a VERY low opinion of that team and amazed that they have been allowed to keep a top level license.

Confidis have a Pro Conti. licence not a ProTeam licence they lost their Pro Team licence a couple of years ago.