Thursday, 22 September 2011

LeopardTrek HQ raided by police

Frank Schleck was connected to Eufemiano
Fuentes in the past, but subsequently
cleared of all doping charges
(©Noel Reynolds CC2.0)
News is emerging that the headquarters of Andy Schleck's team LeopardTrek was raided by Luxembourg police on Tueday morning. Early reports state that the home of team owner Flavio Becca was also targetted. At first, the obvious reason appeared to be an anti-doping investigation, but it has since transpired that Becca is subject to a financial investigation.

In a press release, representatives for Mr. Becca said: "Until now [meaning "at present"] nobody has been charged. The companies and Mr Becca have collaborated with the judicial authorities and intend to continue to do so. We wish that the authorities do their job quickly and that they show that the allegations are groundless."

It should also be noted that Becca, a businessman who developed a small masonry firm into one of Europe's most profitable construction companies, has wide-ranging interests outside professional cycling and as such it's likely that the investigation is linked solely to him rather than to his team.

LeopardTrek, which does not conduct internal anti-doping controls since it believes that the UCI conducts sufficient tests to make it unnecessary,  has not been involved in any doping scandals since its formation earlier this year. Police raids are quite a regular feature of professional cycling and as such should not be seen as evidence that anything untoward has been taking place. The raids have since been confirmed by police prosecutor Henri Eippers, says the website.

Flavio Becca
The team is also home to Jens Voigt, riders' representative on the UCI ProTour Council - a position he has used to speak out against doping. In fact, the team's roster is one of the most clean-cut in the sport, with few of the riders ever being caught up in any sort of doping issue - Stuart O'Grady was a part of Cofidis during 2004, when David Millar's positive sample rocked the team whereas Frank Schleck, following an accusation made by a German newspaper, was shown to have made a mysterious payment into a bank account owned by the notorious Eufemiano Fuentes in 2005. Both riders were later cleared of all charges and have not since faced any serious accusations.

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