MARSEILLE • French police have released two people who were questioned as part of an investigation into suspected doping by the Arkea-Samsic team at the recently concluded Tour de France, the Marseille prosecutor’s office said yesterday.
During a raid on the team’s hotel in Meribel after the competition’s 17th stage, the authorities found health products, including substances and items that could be linked to doping.
Investigators had been questioning two people in the entourage of the French team’s lead rider, Nairo Quintana, twice a runner-up in the Tour and a former Vuelta a Espana and Giro d’Italia champion.
The Colombian, who was allowed to continue working with his own doctor when he signed a three-year deal with Arkea-Samsic earlier this year, has denied using any banned substances.
The 30-year-old said in a statement late on Tuesday: “No doping substance has ever been found. I have nothing to hide and have never had anything to hide.”
Quintana, who finished 17th overall last Sunday, added he had answered all the questions with “a clear conscience” and claimed that only “perfectly legal vitamin supplements” were found in the search.
Although no names have been released, French daily Le Parisien reported that the arrested duo were a doctor and physiotherapist, and the probe remains an active one despite their release.
Arkea-Samsic have thrown their support behind those involved, but will not hesitate to act if the doping charges – which can result in up to five years in jail and a €75,000 (S$119,800) fine – are proven.
AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE, REUTERS