Bogotá (AP) – After a raid on the French cycling team Arkéa-Samsic during the Tour de France and the start of investigations by the public prosecutor of Marseille, Colombian team captain Nairo Quintana has spoken out.
“Authorities entered my room and confiscated completely legal vitamin supplements, although they may not have been known to the French authorities,” Quintana said in a social media post. This is the main reason it takes time to clean up everything that happened.
“For the avoidance of doubt, I want to confirm that no doping substances have ever been found,” emphasizes the 30-year-old professional cyclist. On the day of the queen stage to Col de la Loze last Wednesday, the French racing team was the target of the detectives. According to the media, evidence of doping was also found in the team hotel at the winter sports resort Méribel.
A doctor and a supervisor were in police custody Monday and were not released until Wednesday evening. This is reported by the French news agency AFP, citing the public prosecutor in Marseille. Late Tuesday evening it was said that the suspects were still in custody because of further interrogations. At the beginning of the week, the prosecutor had launched a preliminary investigation to investigate the allegations.
During preliminary investigation, it is checked whether there is anything about the allegations. Quintana confirmed that he had appeared before the prosecution and answered all questions “with a clear conscience”. Quintana assured him that he was a clean driver all his life and had “nothing to hide”. The pro has won the Vuelta, the Giro d’Italia and three stages in the Tour de France. On this year’s tour, he was only 17th overall and, unlike the previous year, was unable to achieve daily success.
“I will remain strong without fear, I will defend the truth and I will continue my way, even if the public sometimes turns in a different direction,” the Colombian wrote. The suspects face up to five years in prison and fines of € 75,000, the researchers said.
Team manager Emmanuel Hubert had assured his professionals of Arkéa-Samsic’s support, but announced immediate repercussions in case of illegal practices. “Of course we support our drivers, but if the investigations actually confirmed doping practices, the team would immediately distance themselves from such acts and take the necessary action without waiting,” said Hubert. Quintana had only switched to Arkéa-Samsic this season. He previously drove for years for the Spanish team Movistar.