In a statement, the Marseille prosecutor Dominique Laurens said that it was carrying out an investigation into a “small part” of Arkéa-Samsic, without specifying who had been placed in custody.
Laurens added that the two people in custody had “many health products including drugs in their personal belongings, but also and above all a method that can be qualified as doping.”
Emmanuel Hubert, the general manager of the French team, distanced himself and the team from those currently being held by French police.
“The searches did occur, as I have already told several media outlets, but they only involved a very limited number of riders and their entourage, not anyone employed by the team,” Hubert said Monday evening. “We support our riders, but if it turns out that at the end of the current investigation, the veracity of the reports are confirmed, the team will immediately dissociate itself from such acts, and will hesitate to cut ties with them.”
The French newspaper Le Parisien reported Monday that one of the team’s doctors and one of its soigneurs have been brought into police custody. The newspaper also reported that police found 100ml of saline as well as injection equipment. Cycling has a no-needle policy as part of its anti-doping rulebook.
According to details provided to AFP by a source familiar with the matter, a search was conducted on riders from the Arkéa-Samsic team, including Dayer Quintana, brother and teammate of former Giro d’Italia and Vuelta a Espana winner Nairo Quintana, and members of the medical team.
Laurens added that the investigation concerned the prescription of a substance or method banned for athletes as well as help and encouragement in the use of that substance or method, and their transportation and possession.
As first reported Sunday in the French weekly Le Journal du Dimanche, and confirmed by L’Equipe, members of an investigative team of the French gendarmes searched the hotel of Arkéa-Samsic on Wednesday in Méribel after the decisive summit finish at Col de la Loze.
There was no official comment from team captain Nairo Quintana in the wake of the media reports. A press statement released by Quintana’s media team Monday described the searches as “routine,” and said that Quintana is “providing the necessary collaboration with the French authorities.”
Quintana crashed in the opening stage of the Tour, and crashed again in stage 13, undercutting his performance during the 2020 Tour. Quintana finished the Tour on Sunday in Paris in 17th overall, more than one hour behind winner Tadej Pogačar.
So far, the search appears to be an isolated incident on the 2020 Tour. There are no other reports of other teams or riders having their rooms searched.
— Agence France Presse contributed to this report