The Marseille prosecutor's office found substances that could be classified as doping, for which they questioned two members of the medical team of the Colombian Nairo Quintana's team
September 21, 2020 Share on FacebookShare Share on TwitterTweet Share on WhatsAppShare
The Tour de France ended this Sunday (Reuters)
Hardly finished, the Tour de France is again confronted with suspicions of doping, with the opening of an investigation to members of the French team Arkea-Samsic, and the arrest of two people.
In the course of an investigation directed by the Marseille prosecutor's office, against “a small part of the cyclists” of the team, “several health products were discovered, including medicines among their personal belongings, but also, and above all, a method that it could be classified as a doping agent, ”said the prosecutor Dominique Laurens.
Two people were questioned on Monday, added the magistrate, without specifying the identity of those who were giving statements to the investigators. According to the newspaper Le Parisien , he is a doctor and a physiotherapist.
To replace its titular doctor who was absent for health reasons, the team had exceptionally called a Colombian for the Tour de France , a compatriot of its leader Nairo Quintana, the team's environment pointed out, without specifying whether this doctor was one of the two people. interrogated.
Some members of the Team Arkea-Samsic team (Reuters)
Asked by the AFP regarding these investigations carried out by the Central Office for Combating Infringements of the Environment and Public Health (OCLAESP), the general manager of the Breton team, Emmanuel Hubert, declared “evidently support for cyclists. But if it were proven that, at the end of the ongoing investigation, elements that confirmed the veracity of doping practices appeared, the team would immediately dissociate itself from such acts and would take the necessary measures without delay to put an end to the ties that may join him to unacceptable and always fought methods ”.
According to details provided to AFP by a source close to the case, confirming information from the Journal du Dimanche and L 'Equipe , a search was made by OCLAESP against several cyclists from the Arkéa-Samsic team, including Colombian Dayer Quintana , Nairo's brother , and members of the medical team.
Hubert indicated that the registration only “affected a very limited number of cyclists, as well as their close environment, not salaried by the team.” “The training, its general manager, as well as its technical team, are not being informed of any element related to the development of the investigation, which does not point to the team or its technicians directly,” he added.
The investigation has been opened for “ administration and prescription to an athlete, without medical justification, of a prohibited substance or method within the framework of a sports event, aid to the use and incitement to the use of a prohibited substance or method to athletes , transportation and possession of a prohibited substance or method for the use of an athlete without medical justification ”, stated Dominique Laurens, recalling that the penalty in these cases can be up to five years in prison and a fine of 75,000 euros ($ 88,788).
Irishman Sam Bennett won the last stage of the Tour (Reuters)
This case appears as the most notable for several editions of the Tour de France, after several years marked by the intervention of the police during the test, since the Festina case in 1998.
Among the latter, the intervention on a rest day in the 2012 Tour against Rémy Di Grégorio, and also systematic records by the OCLAESP after each positive anti-doping control announcement, such as that of Frank Schleck from Luxembourg in 2012.
The Slovenian Pogacar was the champion of the Tour de France (EFE)
Arkéa-Samsic brought Colombian Nairo Quintana to the team this season as leader of the formation, also signing his compatriot Winner Anacona and his little brother, Dayer Quintana.
The team is the heir to the formation called Bretagne and later Fortuneo. It took a greater dimension in recent years by signing in 2018 the French Warren Barguil, who had just completed a remarkable Tour de France (two mountain stages and polka dot jersey for best climber) and then at the end of 2019 Nairo Quintana, three times present on the podium at the Tour in previous years.
Nairo Quintana was in good shape at the beginning of the year, until his victory in the queen stage of Paris-Nice, but he was less seen on the Tour. Caught in a crash on the thirteenth stage arriving at the Puy Mary, he finished the race anonymously, in the seventeenth position in the general classification, more than an hour behind the winner, the Slovenian Tadej Pogacar. For his part, Dayer, who was participating for the first time on the Tour, finished in 95th place.