Following reports that the hotel room of Arkéa-Samsic rider Nairo Quintana was last week raided by gendarmerie officers, a formal investigation has been launched into suspected doping at the Tour de France, which finished in Paris yesterday.
AFP this evening posted a message on Twitter saying that according to "official sources," a "preliminary investigation" had been opened into suspected doping at the race.
It added that prosecutors had told AFP that the probe had been launched following the "discovery of many health products including drugs (...) and above all a method that can be qualified as doping" and referenced "a raid targeting Arkea-Samsic riders."
A source said a raid targeting Arkea-Samsic riders had been carried out
— AFP Sport English (@AFP_Sport) September 21, 2020
The raid reportedly happened in Allues, near Meribel last Wednesday following Stage 17 of the Tour de France, won by Astana’s Miguel Angel Lopez, according to La Journal du Dimanche.
It was carried out by members of the L'Office central de lutte contre les atteintes à l’environnement et à la santé publique (OCLAESP).
The unit, which forms part of the judicial police division of the Gendarmerie and deals with criminal investigations related to the environment and public health, including offences involving performance enhancing drugs.
Arkea-Samsic manager Emmanuel Hubert confirmed to French sports daily L’Equipe that the raid had taken place, but he did not wish to comment further.
The newspaper says however that the team itself and its staff were not the principal targets of the raid, but rather its leader, Quintana.
It reports that the rooms of the team’s Colombian riders – Quintana, his brother Dayer, and Winner Anacona – were searched, as well as those of their masseurs and team vehicles.
L’Equipe added that the search, which it says forms part of a preliminary enquiry, was not carried out in partnership with the country’s national anti-doping agency, the Agence française de lutte contre le dopage.
Quintana, winner of the 2014 Giro d’Italia and 2016 Vuelta a Espana, finished the race yesterday in 17th place overall, more than an hour down on winner Tadej Pogacar.
Crashes on the opening day in Nice and again on Stage 13 meant he struggled to establish himself among the leading contenders.
Then, on Wednesday’s stage, ahead of the gendarmerie’s raid in the evening, he lost contact with the GC group on the Col de la Madeleine, he lost more than 25 minutes and fell out of the top 10.
In a statement published this evening, world cycling’s governing body, the UCI said:
The Union Cycliste Internationale (UCI) confirms that it has been in communication with the Central Office for the Fight against Environmental and Public Health Damage (OCLAESP) and the Cycling Antidoping Foundation (CADF) as part of the legal operations carried out by the French authorities on the sidelines ocf the Tour de France. The UCI welcomes and supports the action of all parties involved and will take the appropriate measures once it has taken note of the information obtained by the French legal authorities.
Simon has been news editor at road.cc since 2009, reporting on 10 editions and counting of pro cycling’s biggest races such as the Tour de France, stories on issues including infrastructure and campaigning, and interviewing some of the biggest names in cycling. A law and languages graduate, published translator and former retail analyst, his background has proved invaluable in reporting on issues as diverse as cycling-related court cases, anti-doping investigations, and the bike industry. He splits his time between London and Cambridge, and loves taking his miniature schnauzer Elodie on adventures in the basket of her Elephant Bike.