Arkéa-Samsic soigneur and doctor released from preliminary custody

CHAMPAGNOLE FRANCE SEPTEMBER 18 Start Winner Andrew Anacona of Colombia Warren Barguil of France Kevin Ledanois of France Dayer Uberney Quintana Rojas of Colombia Nairo Quintana Rojas of Colombi Clement Russo of France Connor Swift of United Kingdom and Team Arkea Samsic Mask Covid safety measures Team Presentation during 107th Tour de France 2020 Stage 19 a 1665km stage from Bourg en Bresse to Champagnole 547m TDF2020 LeTour on September 18 2020 in Champagnole France Photo by Tim de WaeleGetty Images
The Arkéa-Samsic squad at the Tour de France (Image credit: Getty Images Sport)

In the latest development in the investigation into Arkéa-Samsic, both staff members of the team previously held in preliminary custody were released on Wednesday evening.

Soigneur Mikel Otero and doctor Fredy Alexander González Torres had both been held in 'gardes à vue' since Monday morning after prosecutors in Marseille opened an investigation into a "small part" of the French team following a raid at the Tour de France.

Searches of the team's hotel and cars after stage 17 to Col de la Loze carried out by the Central Office for Combating Environmental and Public Health Damage (OCLAESP) turned up 100ml of saline and injection equipment.

Marseille prosecutors opened a case the day after the race finished, with Nairo Quintana and his brother Dayer volunteering for questioning.

On Wednesday night, Marseille public prosecutor Dominique Laurens announced that Otero, Naito Quintana's long-time soigneur, and Torres, who was called up by Arkéa-Samsic to replace an ill doctor, had been released.

"I am informing you that the two detentions were lifted at the beginning of last night," she said, before adding that the investigation will continue.

"As I have stated several times, the investigation is still ongoing and investigative work and hearings must be carried out before the prosecutor makes a decision based on the information gathered."

On Tuesday night, team leader Nairo Quintana released a statement about the investigation, affirming his innocence and stating that no doping products were found during the raid.

"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," he wrote.

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

"For the time being, a preliminary investigation is being carried out, I have answered all the questions and doubts and I am willing to continue doing so on a voluntary basis until the whole situation has been clarified on the basis that I have never used doping substances and no illegal substances were found in the police investigation."

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Daniel Ostanek
Production editor

Daniel Ostanek is production editor at Cyclingnews, having joined in 2017 as a freelance contributor and later being hired as staff writer. Prior to joining the team, he had written for most major publications in the cycling world, including CyclingWeekly, Rouleur, and CyclingTips.

 

Daniel has reported from the world's top races, including the Tour de France and the spring Classics, and has interviewed many of the sport's biggest stars, including Wout van Aert, Remco Evenepoel, Mark Cavendish, Demi Vollering, and Anna van der Breggen.

 

As well as original reporting, news and feature writing, and production work, Daniel also runs The Leadout newsletter and oversees How to Watch guides throughout the season. His favourite races are Strade Bianche and the Volta a Portugal, and he rides a Colnago C40.