Doping raid on the Tour de France
Professional cyclist Quintana: “Have nothing to hide” – suspects at large
After a doping raid on the Tour de France, Nairo Quintana spoke up for the first time – and defended himself. Two suspects will be released on Wednesday night.
After a raid on the French cycling team Arkéa-Samsic during the Tour de France and the start of investigations by the Marseille public prosecutor, the Colombian team captain Nairo Quintana spoke up. “The authorities went into my room and confiscated completely legal vitamin supplements, although they may not have been known to the French authorities,” said Quintana in a message on social media. This is the main reason why it takes time to clear up everything that has happened.
“To avoid any doubt, I would like to confirm that doping substances have never been found,” emphasized the 30-year-old professional cyclist. On the day of the queen’s stage to Col de la Loze last Wednesday, the French racing team was targeted by the investigators. According to the media, evidence of doping was also discovered in the team hotel near the winter sports resort of Méribel.
Doctor and supervisor in police custody
A doctor and a supervisor were in police custody on Monday and were only released on Wednesday night. The French news agency AFP reported, citing the public prosecutor in Marseille. Late on Tuesday evening it was said that the suspects were still in custody because there were further interrogations. At the beginning of the week, the public prosecutor’s office had initiated preliminary investigations to examine the allegations.
During preliminary investigations, it is checked whether there is anything to the allegations. Quintana confirmed that he had appeared before the prosecutor and answered all questions “with a clear conscience”. He was a clean driver all his life and had “nothing to hide,” assured Quintana. The professional has won the Vuelta, the Giro d’Italia and three stages in the Tour de France, among others. At this year’s tour, he was only 17th overall and, unlike in the previous year, was unable to achieve a daily success.
Team manager announces consequences
“I will continue to be strong without fear, I will defend the truth and I will continue on my way, even if the crowd sometimes takes a different direction,” wrote the Colombian. The suspects face a maximum of five years in prison and fines of 75,000 euros, the investigators said.
Team manager Emmanuel Hubert had assured his professionals from Arkéa-Samsic support, but announced immediate consequences in the event of illegal practices. “Of course we stand behind our drivers, but should the investigations actually confirm doping practices, the team would immediately distance themselves from such acts and take the necessary measures without waiting,” Hubert said. Quintana had only switched to Arkéa-Samsic this season. He previously drove for the Spanish team Movistar for years.