• Nairo Quintana celebrates as he wins Stage 3 of the Tour de la Provence attacking 7.2kms from the finish and blowing away all rivals (Getty Images)Source: Getty Images
Following a raid on Nairo and brother Dayer Quintana, as well as two Arkea-Samsic staff members during the 2020 Tour de France, Nairo has issued a press release protesting his innocence.
SBS Cycling Central

24 Sep 2020 - 8:56 AM  UPDATED 24 Sep 2020 - 8:58 AM

On Monday, the day after the Tour finished, it was announced that the Central Office for Combating Environmental and Public Health Damage (OCLAESP) had raided Arkea-Samsic's hotel rooms after stage 17 to the Col de la Loze, finding "100ml of saline and injection equipment" in the doctor's room. Later in the day, news emerged that two team staff members – Quintana's long-time soigneur, Mikel Otero, and team doctor Fredy Alexander González Torres – had been taken into preliminary custody.

Nairo and his brother Dayer both voluntarily attended police interviews. At the same time, the Marseille prosecutor's office confirmed the formal opening of an investigation into a "small part" of the team.

Quintana’s room reportedly searched as police open Arkea-Samsic doping investigation
French police have confirmed an investigation into potential doping from team Arkea-Samsic at the 2020 Tour de France, after a search of their hotel was conducted by officials last week.

Prosecutor Dominique Laurens spoke of a "discovery of many health products including drugs (...) and especially a method that could be qualified as doping."

"The French gendarmerie carried out an operation in the hotel where my team was staying on Wednesday 16th September in Meribel, after the stage of the Tour de France had finished," Quintana wrote.

"On that day the authorities entered my room and seized vitamin supplements that were perfectly legal, although perhaps not familiar to the French authorities. This is the main reason why it has taken time to clear up everything that happened.

"To avoid any doubt, I would like to confirm that no doping substances were ever found."

Quintana continued with a strong refutation of doping personally, though long-term followers of cycling will remember similar strong denials before some of the more sensational doping cases in the history of the sport.

"I, Nairo Quintana, have been a clean cyclist throughout my sporting life and I have an impeccable biological passport," wrote Quintana in his statement. "I want to make it clear to the public, to my fans and to the followers of cycling that never in all my career - junior, under-23 and professional - have I used illegal substances that improve my sporting performance and that betray the principles of sport."

"Yesterday, by appointment of the French authorities – and voluntarily – I appeared before the public prosecutor's office to answer each and every one of their questions clearly and with a clear conscience.

"In this respect, it must be stressed that I have not been the subject of any accusation by the authorities. For my part, I am, and I will be ready to answer any questions from the prosecutor, as I did on Monday and today."

"I, without fear, will continue to be strong, I will defend the truth and I will continue on my way, even if the crowd, at times, takes another direction," he concluded. 

Quintana finished 17th at the Tour de France, slipping down the standings after succumbing to a series of injuries sustained prior to and during the race. He is set to line up representing Colombia at the World Road Championships in Imola on Sunday.

The World Championships from Imola, Italy are the next big event of the cycling season. SBS will broadcast the world championships LIVE on SBS On Demand and streaming from the SBS Cycling Central website. There will be coverage of the women's time trial from 2240 Thursday September 24, men's time trial 2215 Friday September 25, women's road race 2035 Saturday September 26 (switch to SBS VICELAND at 2230), men's road race 1750 Sunday September 27 (switch to SBS VICELAND at 2230).  All times AEST.