Nairo Quintana’s former doctor, Fredy Alexander Gonzales Torres, will stand trial in Marseille in September accused of "possession of a substance or method prohibited for use by an athlete" during the 2020 Tour de France.
According to a report in Le Télégramme, the trial will begin on 2 September at the Marseille Criminal Court. Gonzales Torres faces charges of “possession of a substance or method prohibited for use by an athlete without medical justification, in this case equipment, tools, products and devices allowing implementing infusions and/or intravenous injections,” according to the Marseille prosecutor’s office.
Quintana and his brother, Dayer, were investigated while riding for the French Arkéa-Samsic team in 2020. A preliminary investigation was launched by the Marseille prosecutor's office after a police raid carried out during the 17th of the Tour de France, which finished in Méribel.
According to Dominique Laurens, Marseille prosecutor at the time, "suspect products" and a “method that could be described as doping” were discovered during the searches.
The prosecutor’s office confirmed on Tuesday that they would press ahead with prosecution.
“The investigation is closed and it has been decided to prosecute Mr Fredy Alexander Gonzales Torres, the Colombian doctor of the sports team,” a spokesperson told AFP on Tuesday.
According to the French outlet’s sources, Gonzales Torres will also have to explain in court why on 16 September 2020, he allegedly administered “without medical justification", a “substance or method prohibited in the context of a sporting event” to two riders, via the equipment he already faces charges for possession of.
The maximum penalty that the court could hand down would be five years in prison and a fine of €75,000 (£64,000).
“No doping substance has ever been found… I have nothing to hide and have never had anything to hide,” Quintana said at the time of the initial investigation.
Two years later, the Colombian was disqualified from the 2022 Tour de France after testing positive for the painkiller Tramadol. The decision to disqualify him from the race was upheld by the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS).
Quintana initially finished sixth on the general classification before his result was wiped.
In a video shared on Twitter after the ruling from CAS, Quintana said: "Today we got the response from the CAS. Sadly, it wasn't good for me.
"With pride I can say that, throughout my long sporting career, I've been through more than 300 anti-doping controls, which makes more or less three a month, and I've never had any problem with doping. I have many reasons to not do it and to have not taken this product. Sadly, the CAS result came out like this."
Quintana was not suspended from competition, but remained in the cycling wilderness for 18 months before recently recently rejoining his former team, Movistar. The Colombian climber started his WorldTour career with the Spanish team in 2012 and rode for them until 2019. He will start the Tour Colombia for his new team on Tuesday.
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