As many as 50 officers from Marseille Police are reported to have carried out the raid the night after stage 17 following the opening of an official investigation on July 3 into the possible “acquisition, transportation, possession and importing of a banned substance or method for use by members of Team Bahrain Victorious, currently in action at the 2021 Tour de France”.
The team started Stage 18 the next day seemingly unfazed, with stage 7 winner Matej Mohoric telling media, “Of course, they didn’t find anything because we don’t have anything."
And Colbrelli, currently third in the points classification, suggested the reason for the raid was down to unfounded suspicion and jealousy from those in the sport doubting the team's recent strong performances at the Tour which has them first in the teams classification.
“These things happen for pure jealousy," Colbrelli said before the start of Stage 18 in Pau. "It is for pure jealousy.
“Jealousy is part of the game and part of life. Unfortunately, someone sparked the police search.
“They turned everything upside down during the search. They were kind and I can’t complain because when they pulled things out, they then put them back. We all collaborated. We all underwent an analysis of our hair too. They didn’t find anything.
"I didn’t sleep at all because I was so irritated. We don’t deserve this. In our world, if you ride strongly, they say you’re up to something, if you ride slowly, you’re a nobody.
The Italian emphasised Bahrain Victorious' recent success was simply the product of hard work, preparation and sacrifice as he found the heightened attention on the team a silver lining in the investigation saga.
“Only we know how long we’ve spent away from home, how much the team invests in altitude training camps and everything else,” Colbrelli said.
“I don't wish what happened to us on anybody. But I’m happy that this has happened because it shows the team is becoming important and showing it with the results.
"We’ve been hit by a high number of tests at this Tour de France and they’re welcome to do that. But after a hard stage like yesterday, when you get to your hotel room at 9pm and then you’re searched until 1am, and go to bed at 3am, it is not nice.”
The Tour de France continues with a sprint stage on Stage 19, a largely flat route over 207 kilometres from Mourenx to Libourne. Watch the race on SBS and SBS OnDemand from 2030 AEST, with the race coverage starting earlier on the SKODA Tour Tracker at 2005 AEST.