Barely finished, the Tour de France finds itself again confronted with the suspicion of doping. An investigation targeting members of the French team Arkéa-Samsic was opened and two caregivers were placed in police custody on Monday, September 21, before being released the next day.
→ INVESTIGATION. Cycling and doping, the return of suspicion
During this preliminary investigation led by the Marseille prosecutor’s office as part of the public health pole and aimed “A small part of the runners” of the team, were discovered “Many health products including drugs in their personal belongings, but also and above all a method that can be qualified as doping”, said the prosecutor of Marseille, Dominique Laurens.
“Unacceptable” methods, according to the manager
Several riders of the team also “Been heard in free hearing of a suspect”, said the prosecutor Tuesday evening. These runners, whose identity has not been confirmed by the Marseille prosecutor’s office, are suspected of having detained “Without medical justification” a “Prohibited substance or method” may have served as doping, within the framework of the Tour.
The leader of the French team, Colombian Nairo Quintana defended himself on Wednesday from any doping. ” I have been a clean runner all my sporting life ”, does he have. In addition to this, you need to know more about it.“The authorities came to my room and found there food supplements rich in vitamins that were perfectly legal, even if they were not known to the French authorities”, explained the Colombian in a statement. “I have nothing to hide and never had anything to hide”, pleads the rider, who finished the 2020 edition in 17th place, more than an hour from the winner, the Slovenian Tadej Pogacar.
To replace its doctor absent for health reasons, the team had exceptionally called for the Tour de France to a Colombian, we note in the entourage of the team without knowing if this practitioner is one of the detained.
→ READ. Tour de France 2020: Tadej Pogacar, a kid made history
Asked about these investigations carried out by the Central Office for the fight against attacks on the environment and public health (OCLAESP), the general manager of the Breton team Emmanuel Hubert declared “Obviously support (his) runners. But if it turned out that at the end of the current investigation, elements came to confirm the veracity of doping practices, the team would immediately dissociate itself from such acts and would take the necessary measures without delay. to put an end to the links which could unite them with unacceptable and always opposed methods ”.
Several runners targeted
According to details provided by a source familiar with the matter, the search carried out on Wednesday September 16 near Méribel (Savoie) by OCLAESP targeted several riders of the team, including the Colombian Dayer Quintana, the younger brother of Nairo, and members of the medical team.
Emmanuel Hubert for his part simply indicated that the search did not “Concerned only a very limited number of riders, as well as their close entourage, not employed by the team”. “The team, its general manager and its staff are not kept informed of any element, directly or indirectly, relating to the progress of the investigation which does not target either the team or its staff directly”, he added.
This case is the first notable for several years on the Tour de France, after a period punctuated by police raids during the event following the Festina affair in 1998.
Among the most recent, the intervention during a day of rest of the Tour 2012 targeting Rémy Di Grégorio, but also systematic searches of the OCLAESP at each positive doping control announcement, in particular that of Luxembourgish Frank Schleck in 2012.