Nairo Quintana has responded after French authorities launched a doping investigation into him and Arkéa-Samsic at the Tour de France.
News emerged that environment and public health officers had searched the Arkéa-Samsic hotel during the final week of the Tour, reportedly confiscating injection equipment, while Quintana and his brother Dayer were voluntarily interviewed by police, and two staff members taken into custody.
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But in a statement released late on Tuesday night (September 22) Quintana, who finished 17th overall in this year’s Tour, denied any wrongdoing and said the substances found by officers were vitamin supplements.
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.”
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.”
The two people being held in custody have since been released, but the investigation continues.
Arkéa-Samsic general manager Emanuel Hubert has also confirmed the search, but distanced the team from the investigation.
In his statement, Quintana added: “I would also like to clear up a misunderstanding – neither during the recent Tour nor during any other previous race I have never consulted assistants or staff who were not part of the team. I do not have, and have never had, anything to hide
“Yesterday, by appointment of the French authorities and voluntarily I appeared before the public prosecutor’s office to answer each of their questions clearly and with a clear conscience.”
He added: “I, without fear, will continue to be strong, I will defend the truth and I will continue on my way, even if the crowd, at times, takes another direction.”