Tour de France team leader Quintana denies doping | Sunday Observer

Tour de France team leader Quintana denies doping

Nairo Quintana
Nairo Quintana

AFP MARSEILLE: The lead rider of a Tour de France team caught up in a doping investigation said he had “nothing to hide” after two unnamed members of the French outfit were briefly detained before being released.

Colombian rider Nairo Quintana, 30, leader of the Arkea-Samsic team and winner of the 2014 Giro d’Italia, said no drugs were discovered during the investigation.

“No doping substance has ever been found,” Quintana said in a statement late on Tuesday.

“I have nothing to hide and have never had anything to hide.”

Police detained two people from the Arkea-Samsic team on Monday, with press reports saying they were a doctor and physiotherapist.

Marseille prosecutor Dominique Laurens confirmed Wednesday that the pair, whom he had said had “many health products including drugs in their personal belongings, but also and above all a method that can be qualified as doping”, had both been released Tuesday.

“The investigation is ongoing,” Laurens said, adding that new developments were possible.

“Investigations and hearings (must) be carried out before the public prosecutor reaches a decision on the basis of the elements collected.”

A source familiar with the matter told AFP that searches had targeted several riders including Quintana’s brother Dayer, as well as members of the medical team.

Nairo Quintana finished the Tour in 17th place, more than an hour behind Pogacar. Quintana’s teammate Warren Barguil finished in 14th place.

It is the most significant investigation in years for the repeatedly scandal-hit Tour, which wrapped up Sunday in Paris with a surprise victory for 21-year-old debutant Tadej Pogacar, the youngest winner in more than a century.

The Tour was rocked by a major probe in 1998, when customs officials stopped a vehicle laden with doping products and the Festina team was thrown off the race as the peloton headed into Paris.