It would not be a rest day at the Tour de France without a doping investigation. These things come as regularly as the sun rises in the east, the tides swing from high to low, and well, all the other regular things that happen in the world. Today, the French anti-doping police have arrested Rémy Di Gregorio of Cofidis in Bourg-en-Bresse. The investigation by OCLAEPS, the French narcotics police, focuses on Astana in 2011 when Di Gregorio rode for the team. The police have also reportedly arrested two other individuals in connection with the case and seized Di Gregorio's phone.
In a press conference, Cofidis team manager Yvon Sanquer confirmed that the team had suspended Di Gregorio, pending more information in the case. This is not the first trip down the Tour doping scandal road for Cofidis. In 2007, Cristian Moreni tested positive during the Tour. Sanquer said the team had no plans to leave the race at this time. He argued that because the team has four riders racing the Tour for the first time, it was unfair to expect the team to leave. "The team does not deserve to be punished for the crimes of an individual," he said.
From the start of his career, Di Gregorio was widely touted as the next big climbing sensation in France. He turned professional in 2005 with Marc Madiot's Française des Jeux. Di Gregorio started his first Tour de France in 2007, after he won the mountains prize at the Critérium du Dauphiné. In the main, though, the results were few and far between for Di Gregorio, who attracted media attention with his diamond earring and flashy style. In 2011, he transferred to Astana. The season started out well with a stage win at Paris-Nice, but otherwise, there was not much to write home about there.
Voilà, another Tour, another doping case. The details remain a bit scarce on this one, for now. We know only that Di Gregorio and two others are being held for questioning in connection with an investigation into the Astana team and that the case dates from 2011. Di Gregorio's phone is apparently part of the evidence against him. No doubt more information will surface in coming days. I think I might just watch the bike race instead.