Two in custody in Tour de France doping investigation

Members of Nairo Quintana’s Arkéa-Samsic team targeted in hotel raids last week

 Colombian rider Nairo Quintana representing Arkéa-Samsic team during the  Tour de France. Photograph: Christophe Petit Tesson/EPA

Colombian rider Nairo Quintana representing Arkéa-Samsic team during the Tour de France. Photograph: Christophe Petit Tesson/EPA

 

Two people were in custody on Monday after an investigation was opened into suspected doping by the Arkéa-Samsic team at this year’s Tour de France, the Marseilles prosecutor said on Monday.

Dominique Laurens said in a statement that the investigation was targeting a “small part of the team” and that those in custody were part of the “close entourage of the main rider”.

The prosecutor did not name the main rider. The leader of the Arkéa-Samsic team is Colombian Nairo Quintana.

The investigation targeted “the administration and prescription without medical justification of a substance or a method prohibited during a sporting event, and helping and encouraging the use of that substance or method,” the statement added.

Searches led to “the discovery of many health products, including drugs, in their personal belongings and above all a method that can be qualified as doping,” it said.

Arkéa-Samsic’s team manager, Emmanuel Hubert, confirmed the team’s hotel had been raided last week. He said the search targeted a “very limited” number of riders as well as their entourage, who he said were not employed by the team.

Hubert said the investigation did “not target the team or its staff directly”.

“We obviously support our riders, but if the investigation confirms the veracity of doping practices, the team would immediately dissociate itself from such acts,” Hubert added in his statement.

The Union Cycliste Internationale (UCI) told Reuters that it “welcomes and supports the action of all authorities involved in this operation”.

The UCI said it would take “necessary measures once it has reviewed the elements obtained by the French judicial authorities”.

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