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“Nothing to hide” – Tour de France team leader Quintana denies doping

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. “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 said 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.”

Nairo Quintana finished the Tour in 17th place, more than an hour behind winner Tadej Pogacar. Quintana’s teammate Warren Barguil was in 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 Slovenian debutant 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.

Most notoriously, Lance Armstrong, who won from 1999-2005, admitted doping in 2013 and the American was stripped of his record seven titles.

Many had predicted the Covid-19 pandemic would prevent the riders making it the 3,400 kilometres (2,100 miles) from the Mediterranean city of Nice to the French capital.

The prosecutor’s statement said the investigation was focused on the prescription of a substance or banned method for athletes, as well as help and encouragement in its use. The charges can lead to up to five years in prison and a 75,000-euro ($88,000) fine.


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