On Monday, the Arkea-Samsic team from Quintana confirmed that their hotel rooms had been searched by the police following stage 17 of the Tour in Méribel. In his own statement, Quintana said he had been voluntarily questioned, had not been charged with wrongdoing by authorities and that the substances seized were “perfectly legal” vitamin supplements.“The French gendarmerie carried out an operation in the hotel where my team was staying on Wednesday, September 16, in Méribel, after the end of the Tour de France stage,” said Quintana. “On that day, the authorities entered my room and seized vitamin supplements that were perfectly legal, although perhaps unknown to the French authorities.
“This is the main reason why it takes time for everything that has happened to be fully clarified. For the avoidance of doubt, I would like to confirm that no doping substance has ever been found. ”
An Arkea-Samsic statement released on Monday said the investigation was not focused “directly” on the team and involved “a very limited number of runners, as well as their close entourage, not employed by the team” .
In his statement, Quintana said he does not work with any assistants or staff who are not part of the team. “I would also like to clear up a misunderstanding: neither during the recent Tour, nor during any previous race, have I ever consulted any assistants or staff who were not part of the team. I have nothing to hide and I have never had anything to hide.
The 30-year-old added that he had answered questions from the prosecution “in all conscience”. “It should be noted that I have not been the subject of any accusation from the authorities. I will be ready to answer any questions from the prosecutor, as I did on Monday and [Tuesday]. »
Quintana, who has finished on the podium in three previous laps, suffered a crash on the 13th stage of this year’s race, then broke onto the Grand Colombier two days later, disappearing to finish 17th. It was his lowest ranking in a Grand Tour since the 2012 Vuelta.
“I, Nairo Quintana, have been a clean cyclist throughout my sporting life and have a crisp biological passport,” he said. “I want to make the public, my fans and cycling enthusiasts understand that never in my entire career – junior, under 23 and professional – have I used illegal substances which improve my sporting performance and which betray the principles Sport. ”
According to information in France, two people were taken into police custody as part of the investigation. On Monday, the UCI said it had been in contact with the authorities. “The UCI welcomes and supports the action of all the parties involved and will take the appropriate measures once it has taken cognizance of the information obtained by the French judicial authorities”, a statement read.
Arkea-Samsic said that if any wrongdoing is discovered, the team “will immediately dissociate themselves from such acts and take the necessary measures without delay.”