Nairo Quintana’s team boss says he trusts the Colombian as doping investigation continues
Authorities searched the Arkéa-Samsic hotel during the final week of the Tour de France, but the investigation has not yet concluded
Nairo Quintana’s team boss says he trusts the Colombian, as the doping investigating launched at the Tour de France continues.
Shortly after the 2020 Tour finished in Paris, news emerged that police had searched the rooms of several riders at the Arkéa-Samsic team hotel in the final week of the race, and had discovered “many health products including drugs and especially a method that could be qualified as doping.”
Nairo Quintana and his brother Dayer, also an Arkéa rider, were questioned by police while two other people were arrested and later released.
Arkéa-Samsic team manager Emmanuel Hubert has now spoken about the incident for the first time, in an interview with the Ouest France newspaper.
Hubert said: “We have nothing to be ashamed of, us, in any case. So that's why we immediately made ourselves available to the police. Today, I don't know much more. The only thing I can see is that everyone is free, and everyone has the right to practice their profession.
“But even the athletes, Nairo, Dayer, they don't understand. They went to be interviewed, they were released, they were not even in police custody.
“It’s under preliminary investigation, and it is therefore necessary to know that we do not have access to any part of the file. As the police told us, life goes on. I want to know the bottom of the matter.”
After news of the police raids came to light, the prosecutor for the environment and public health office in Marseille, Dominique Laurens, said that a number of health products were seized in the searches including “a method that could be qualified as doping.”
She added that two unnamed were being held for having potential doping products, while the investigation revolved around “a very limited number of riders, as well as their close entourage.”
But in a statement Quintana, who finished 17th overall in this year’s Tour, denied any wrongdoing and said the substances found by officers were vitamin supplements.
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The 30-year-old Colombian star said: “The French police carried out an operation in the hotel where my team was staying on Wednesday, September 16 in Méribel, after the stage of the Tour de France had finished.
“On that day the authorities entered my room and seized vitamin supplements that were perfectly legal, although perhaps not familiar to the French authorities. This is the main reason why it has taken time to clear up everything that happened.
“To avoid any doubt, I would like to confirm that no doping substances were found.”
When asked if he has any doubts about Quintana, Hubert said: “I have no doubts.”
Hubert added that Quintana will still be in the team next season “unless something is proven.”
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Alex Ballinger is editor of BikeBiz magazine, the leading publication for the UK cycle industry, and is the former digital news editor for CyclingWeekly.com. After gaining experience in local newsrooms, national newspapers and in digital journalism, Alex found his calling in cycling, first as a reporter, then as news editor responsible for Cycling Weekly's online news output, and now as the editor of BikeBiz. Since pro cycling first captured his heart during the 2010 Tour de France (specifically the Contador-Schleck battle) Alex covered three Tours de France, multiple editions of the Tour of Britain, and the World Championships, while both writing and video presenting for Cycling Weekly. He also specialises in fitness writing, often throwing himself into the deep end to help readers improve their own power numbers. Away from the desk, Alex can be found racing time trials, riding BMX and mountain bikes, or exploring off-road on his gravel bike. He’s also an avid gamer, and can usually be found buried in an eclectic selection of books.
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