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The Marseille prosecutor’s office has opened an investigation for doping targeting some of the riders of the French team Arkéa-Samsic. A search was carried out on Wednesday and two police custody were underway on Monday. This is the first notable affair for several years on the Tour de France.
Barely finished, the Tour de France finds himself again confronted with the suspicion of doping, with the opening of an investigation targeting members of the French team Arkéa-Samsic.
During this investigation led by the Marseille prosecutor’s office as part of the public health pole and targeting “a small part of the runners” of the team, “many health products including drugs were discovered in their personal belongings, but also and above all a method that can be qualified as doping, “said the prosecutor of Marseille, Dominique Laurens.
Two police custody were underway Monday, September 21, in the entourage of a runner, added the magistrate, without specifying the identity of the people heard by the investigators. According to Le Parisien, it is a doctor and a physiotherapist.
To replace its titular doctor absent for health reasons, the team had exceptionally appealed for the Tour de France to a Colombian, compatriot of its leader Nairo Quintana, one notes in the entourage of the team without specifying if this practitioner is one of the detainees.
Asked by AFP about these investigations, the general manager of the Breton team Emmanuel Hubert declared “of course to support (his) runners. But if it turns out that at the end of the investigation in During the course, elements came to confirm the veracity of doping practices, the team would immediately dissociate itself from such acts and would immediately take the necessary measures to put an end to the links which could unite them with unacceptable and still opposed methods “.
According to details provided to AFP by a source familiar with the matter and confirming information from the Journal du Dimanche and L’Equipe, the search carried out targeted several riders of the team, including the Colombian Dayer Quintana, the brother of Nairo , and members of the medical team.
Up to five years in prison
Emmanuel Hubert for his part simply indicated that the search “concerned only a very limited number of runners, as well as their close entourage, not employed by the team”. “The team, its general manager and its staff are not kept informed of any element from near or far, relating to the progress of the investigation which does not target neither the team nor its staff directly,” he said. he adds. According to the two newspapers, the search took place on Wednesday near Méribel (Savoie).
The investigation was opened on the heads of “administration and prescription to an athlete without medical justification of a substance or method prohibited in the context of a sports event, aid in the use and incitement to the use of a substance or method prohibited for athletes, transport and possession of substance or method prohibited for the purpose of use by an athlete without medical justification “, also specified Dominique Laurens, recalling that the penalty incurred was 5 years imprisonment and 75,000 euros fine .
This case is the first notable for several years on the Tour de France, after a period marked by police raids during the event following the Festina affair in 1998.