Two people are in police custody as part of an investigation into suspicion of doping by the Arkea-Samsic team during this year’s Tour de France.
- French prosecutors said they found “many health products, including drugs” after a search of a team hotel room
- The investigation targeted a “small part” of the Arkea-Samsic team, led by Nairo Quintana
- Sport’s governing body said it “welcomed” the authorities’ action
The investigation was opened a day after the conclusion of the three-week 3,482.2 km race.
Sports newspaper L’Equipe said law enforcement from a special public health unit conducted a search on Wednesday in Meribel, where the 17th “queen” stage of this year’s race ended on Wednesday.
The French press quoted Monday a Marseille prosecutor, Dominique Laurens, who said that the search had brought to light “many health products including drugs in personal effects … and especially a method that could be qualified as doping.”
Laurens said in a statement that the investigation was targeting a “small portion of the team” on allegations that “the administration and prescribing without medical justification of a prohibited substance or method during an event athletic, and aiding and abetting the use of that substance or method ”.
The penalty for this offense in France is five years in prison and a fine of 75,000 euros.
The Union Cycliste Internationale (UCI) told Reuters in a statement that it “welcomes and supports the action of all authorities involved in this operation”.
The UCI declared that it would take “the necessary measures once it has examined the elements obtained by the French judicial authorities”.
Arkea-Samsic had a relatively disappointing Tour, with his best placed driver, Frenchman Warren Barguil, finishing in 14th place, 31 minutes and 4 seconds behind race winner Tadej Pogacar.
Arkea-Samsic’s team manager, 30-year-old Colombian Nairo Quintana, double Grand Tour winner and double Tour de France finalist, finished in 17th place, more than an hour behind.
Tasmanian Richie Porte finished in third place, becoming the second Australian to finish on the Tour de France podium.
The last rider to be taken off the Tour for a failed doping test was Frank Schleck in 2012.
Fils / ABC