Eight people face preliminary charges in relation to French doping raids.

Following Tuesday’s doping raids in Caen in north-west France, eight people face preliminary charges in relation to the police operation.

Those concerned include several amateur riders, a pharmacist, a doctor, bodybuilders and former riders. It is unknown if the latter competed in the professional ranks or not; initial reports on Tuesday stated that pro riders were amongst those taken into custody, but some subsequent reports have questioned this.

The doctor has been accused of writing false prescriptions, while the others have been accused of using doping products including EPO, growth hormone and anabolic agents.

The race was carried out by OCLAESP, the French Central office for the Fight against Environmental Damage and Public Health (Office Central de Lutte contre les Atteintes à l’Environnement et à la Santé Publique), and resulted in the suspects being jailed for 48 hours before their release on Thursday evening.

According to AP, the filing of preliminary charges in France occurs when the investigating magistrates have strong reason to suspect involvement in a crime. It enables the investigators to keep searching for evidence, thus building a case.

The OCLAESP is the same body which was investigating the Astana team after infusion kits and syringes were found during the 2009 Tour de France. Infusions and transfusions are banned by WADA. The OCLAESP also met US investigators recently at Interpol’s base in Lyon in connection with the investigation into claims of doping by the US Postal Services team.

This week’s raids are connected to an alleged doping ring in Normandy.

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