Tour de France doping scandal: team members released

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PARISTwo medical advisers from the Arkea-Samsic cycling team participating in this year’s Tour de France have been released from custody in Marseille after being detained as part of an anti-doping investigation, according to an announcement from the prosecution on Wednesday.

Freddy Abella – personal doctor of the team leader Nairo Quintana – and Mikel Otero – physiotherapist were both free to go Tuesday evening, announced Wednesday the public prosecutor of Marseille Dominique Laurens. Both took place on Monday in the city in southern France as part of a doping investigation conducted by the Arkea-Samsic team.

Quintana was heard by police on Tuesday on the matter, denying any wrongdoing, and said in a tweet that the substances obtained by authorities in his hotel room were legitimate vitamin compounds.

“I want to tell the public, my fans and cycling enthusiasts that never in my entire career have I used illegal substances that improve my athletic performance or betray the principles of the sport,” said Quintana.

“No illegal substances were found in the police investigation,” he continued, adding that what was recovered were “perfectly legal vitamin supplements which may not be familiar to the French authorities”.

An investigation was opened Monday after the search of the team’s hotel rooms last Wednesday in the town of Allues in the Auvergne-Rhones-Alpes region. Quintana’s room was searched, along with that of his brother Dayer Quintana, also a member of the team, as well as his Colombian colleague Winner Anacona. The team’s cars and crew were also searched.

Police have recovered saline, which can be used for doping, as well as injection equipment.

A press release from the Marseille prosecutor’s office specifies that “the elements collected during the searches will require additional investigations with certain analyzes”.

The investigation of some members of the team is ongoing.
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