Matej Mohoric has just replicated Lance Armstrong’s infamous ‘zipped-lips’ gesture as he celebrated winning at the Tour, days after a doping raid into his team hotel
- Matej Mohoric copied Lance Armstrong’s ‘zipped mouth’ gesture on Friday
- The Slovenian was referring to the police raid on his hotel over alleged doping
- Team Bahrain Victorious provided copies of records to police, with no arrests
- Mohoric said he ‘felt like a criminal’ but insisted the team have ‘nothing to hide’
Matej Mohoric sent a message about being subjected to a police search by replicating Lance Armstrong’s ‘zipped mouth’ gesture as he crossed the line to win stage 19 of the Tour de France on Friday.
The Bahrain Victorious rider said he was making specific reference to the raid at the team hotel earlier this week over allegations of doping.
It’s claimed up to 50 police officers descended on the hotel near Pau, where they remained until around 2am Thursday morning.
Matej Mohoric copied Lance Armstrong’s ‘zip mouth’ move after winning at the Tour de France
Police raided the Bahrain Victorious team hotel on Thursday following accusations of doping
No arrests were made, with the team confirming they provided copies of their riders’ training files to police.
Mohoric’s ‘zipped mouth’ gesture echoed Armstrong’s action to bitter rival Filippo Simeoni at stage 18 of the Tour in 2004.
Simeoni had years earlier admitted to doping and testified against Dr Michele Ferrari – who also had a relationship with Armstrong – saying the doctor gave him the performance-enhancing drugs.
Armstrong took exception to Simeoni’s testimony, calling him a liar, which led Simeoni to sue the American for defamation. When they later met on the Tour, Armstrong confronted Simeoni and made the now-infamous gesture.
Armstrong infamously made the gesture to bitter rival Filippo Simeoni on the Tour in 2004
Speaking on his own use of the gesture after his victory, Mohoric said: ‘I was thinking mostly about what happened two days ago.
‘I felt like a criminal with all the police at our hotel. From one point of view it’s a good thing – it means there are still controls in the peloton and they are checking the teams.
‘Of course they didn’t find anything because we have nothing to hide. But from another point of view it’s a bit disappointing because it’s not a nice thing when the police walk into your room and check all your belongings.
‘Even if you have nothing to hide it feels a bit weird when they go through your personal things, photos of your family, your phone and your messages.
Mohoric said the police raid made him feel ‘like a criminal’ but that he had ‘nothing to hide’
‘At the end of the day I’ve got nothing to hide and I don’t care too much about other people checking my stuff, so it’s OK in the end I hope.’
The 207km stage from Mourenx suited a sprint on paper but it would be another day for the escapees as Mohoric won his second stage of the Tour, and third for a Bahrain Victorious team whose hotel was searched by police on Wednesday night as part of an anti-doping investigation.
The Slovenian national champion had been part of a 20-man group who finally managed to distance the peloton decisively inside the final 100km, and he went solo with 26km still to go to take victory by almost a minute from Christophe Laporte.
Mohoric’s win meant Mark Cavendish was made to wait for his chance to break Eddy Merckx’s record of 34 Tour stage victories.
Mark Cavendish (left) had to wait to break Eddy Merckx’s (right) record of 34 Tour stage wins
The scene had been set for Cavendish to make history with the start in Mourenx – the town where Merckx took one of his most famous wins after a 140km solo attack in the Pyrenees during the 1969 Tour, the first of the Belgian’s five overall victories.
Merckx himself was on hand to embrace Cavendish in front of the velodrome that bears the 76-year-old’s name, wishing the Manxman well in his pursuit of the record.
Early crashes slowed the formation of a meaningful breakaway, but with 15 of the 23 teams starting the day without a stage win and desperate to make their mark, the battle continued until the mid-point of the day when the elastic finally snapped.
The escapees began to attack one another inside the final 45km, the battling raging for almost 20km until Mohoric made the decisive move.