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A day after news first emerged that French police had searched Nairo Quintana’s hotel room and opened a preliminary investigation into possible doping, Quintana has made his first public statements on the subject.
“The French gendarmerie carried out an operation in the hotel where my team was staying on Wednesday, September 16, in Méribel, after the Tour de France stage ended,” Quintana confirmed in a statement. “That day, the authorities entered my room and seized vitamin supplements that were perfectly legal, although perhaps unfamiliar to the French authorities. This is the main reason why it takes time for everything that happened to be fully clarified.”
According to reports in French media, police searched the rooms of a few members of the Arkéa-Samsic team as well as team cars after the 17th stage of the Tour. According to the AFP, prosecutors in Marseille opened a preliminary investigation following the “discovery of many health products including drugs … and above all a method that can be qualified as doping.”
Le Parisien reports that a doctor and soigneur were taken into police custody on Monday while Nairo and Dayer Quintana were questioned.
In his statement, Quintana was emphatic that the search did not recover anything illegal.
“So that there is no doubt, I want to confirm that doping substances were never found,” he said.
Although an Arkéa-Samsic statement noted that the investigation concerned “a very limited number of riders, as well as their close entourage, not employed by the team,” Quintana emphasized that he has been working solely with team personnel.
“I also want to clear up a misunderstanding: during the recent Tour or during any previous race, I have never consulted auxiliary or foreign personnel from the team,” Quintana said. “I do not have and have never had anything to hide.”
Quintana said that he has been cooperating with authorities and will continue to do so.
“Yesterday, at the summons of the French authorities, and voluntarily, I appeared before the prosecution and answered each and every one of their questions clearly and with a clear conscience,” he said. “In this sense, it is necessary to emphasize that I have not been the object of any accusation by the authorities. For my part, I am and will be ready to clarify any doubt from the prosecution, as I did on Monday and today.
“I, Nairo Quintana, have been a clean rider throughout my sporting life and have an impeccable biological passport. I want to clarify to the public, to my fans, and cycling followers that never in my entire career – junior, under-23 and professional – have I used illegal substances that improve my sports performance and that betray the principles of sport.”