UNIMPRESSED: Cofidis manager Yvon Sanquer speaks to the media during the first rest day of the Tour de France in Bourg-en-Bresse yesterday . Remy Di Gregorio has been suspended by Cofidis after a raid on the team's hotel by police investigating alleged doping offences. Picture: REUTERS

TOUR de France team Cofidis have suspended Frenchman Remy Di Gregorio over doping allegations, the team announced on the first rest day yesterday.

Di Gregorio was arrested following a police raid at his team's hotel in Bourg-en-Bresse, several miles outside Macon, in eastern France, where the race will resume for the 10th stage today.

A team statement said: "We have just learned that one of our riders, competing at the Tour de France, may have attempted to resort to doping substances to improve his performance.

"At the current time, we have very little information about the facts of the case.

"However the suspicion on the rider concerned, Remy Di Gregorio, leaves us with no choice but to hand down the strictest possible sanctions. He is therefore immediately suspended, provisionally, while we await more ample information on the case. If the suspicions are confirmed, he will be sacked on the spot - in accordance with the stipulations in his contract and in line with the ethical policy of the team."

It is not the first time one or several riders from Cofidis have been embroiled in a doping affair. Several riders, including Briton David Millar and Frenchman Phillipe Gaumont, were implicated in a damaging doping affair in 2004, leading to radical changes at management level.

Three years later, under pressure from organisers, the team left the 2007 Tour when Italian rider Cristian Moreni tested positive for the banned blood booster EPO (erythropoietin).

In 2007, Bradley Wiggins was part of the Cofidis team that went home after the 16th stage.

He is leading this year's Tour de France race.

Tour de France officials have yet to comment on the case.

But Cofidis hope to avoid the same fate as five years ago.

The statement said: "We believe, however, that this isolated case should not place any doubt on the team's continued participation in the Tour de France, or penalise those who have nothing to blame themselves for. The team will therefore line up for the race tomorrow morning."

Cofidis stressed they had the strictest rules concerning ethics in the team.

"In recent years we have put in place an exemplary antidoping programme that goes well beyond what is imposed by the international antidoping authorities.

"We see that in spite of these measures we are powerless in the face of individuals with no scruples who tarnish the image of the sponsor and sully the reputation of all the riders in the team.

"Consequently, all existing measures will not only be maintained but reinforced in the coming days.

"We want to make it loud and clear: anyone who cheats has no place in the Cofidis team."

Di Gregorio was arrested yesterday as part of an investigation into the organised trafficking of doping substances, Marseilles magistrate Jacques Dallest said.

He was taken into police custody in Bourg-en-Bresse and was brought to Marseilles for further questioning by investigating magistrate Annaick le Goff, Mr Dallest said.

Two other unidentified men, who are suspected of "having dealings" with Di Gregorio, were also taken into police custody. Mr le Goff said earlier that the doping investigation had been "opened last year".

Prior to joining Cofidis for the 2012 season, Di Gregorio raced with the Astana team, which is also racing the Tour de France.

Astana were also thrown off the race in 2007, after then leader Alexandre Vinokourov of Kazakhstan tested positive for blood doping. Di Gregorio's most not able success was in the Paris-Nice stage in March last year.

Sapa-AFP