The Tour de France once again gets lost in the swampy curves of doping. The prosecution of Marseille Court has opened an investigation for alleged crimes committed by some members of the Arkea-Samsic team, that of Nairo Quintana, when some professionals launch very serious accusations against Tadej Pogacar, the last and now legendary winner, on Sunday, on the Champs Elysees.
According to the first, unofficial information, among those suspected of mounting the “doping operation” were several members of the medical team and the Colombian runner Dayer Quintana, brother of Nairo. The administrative direction of Arkea-Samsic would have started by trying to establish a kind of «security barrier», between the alleged protagonists of doping and the rest of the team, asserting these reasons: «If the suspicions are confirmed, the team’s leadership would take the measures that correspond to simply unacceptable methods and behaviors, which we have always fought. Our team belongs to the movement for credible cycling, for twenty years, demonstrating our defense of ethics and the fight against doping, ”Arkea-Samsic said in a statement.
However, the judicial sources are formal. After the searches made at the cyclists’ hotel, in Méribel (Haute Savoie) last Wednesday “medical substances and methods of use have been discovered that are prohibited in the framework of sports events, inciting the use of products directly related to doping.” In the opinion of the Prosecutor of the Court of Marseille, there is no doubt about the alleged criminal behavior of a still unknown number of cyclists and members of the ‘Arkea-Samsic’ medical team.
I was Nairo Quintana aware of the suspicions of his brother Dayer? Could you ignore some “rumors” that circulated very vividly among the sports journalists who covered the Tour? According to official and unofficial spokespersons, the judicial police working on the orders of the Marseille Court prosecutor’s office discovered significant quantities of doping products in the hotel and the rooms of the Arkea-Samsic team. Products that the police found among the travel bags of the cyclists and among the work “material” of the medical team.
The prosecution of Court of Marseille it will take the necessary time before laying its first official conclusions. But the scandal has unearthed the string of suspicions and rumors that circulated since the beginning of the last edition of the Tour, when the spectacular triumphs of the Slovenian riders began to cause a “sensation”. Now the French press takes the opportunity to recall that eight of the nineteen Slovenian runners who became professional between 2009 and 2019 were suspended for doping. Tadej Pogacar, the great winner of the last edition of the Tour, had to respond on several occasions to these deep “reservations”, but he always responded by showing his face: “I have nothing to hide. You can believe me.
However, after the outbreak of the scandal that runs the risk of seriously staining the reputation of several of the members of the Arkea-Samsic, a French runner, Stephane Heulot, which had its glory days years ago, launched serious accusations against Pogacar: “This Tour I really wanted to vomit. Unheard of things have been seen. For a professional, it is very difficult to understand that a runner weighing 75 kilos can climb some heights at an unheard of speed. There is something that does not filter. There are things that do not happen. Nor should they happen. The way I see it, we have fallen very low again. I don’t know if he used chemical or electrical doping. On a personal note, all of that disgusts me and makes me want to vomit.
Heulot speaks in a personal capacity. These are opinions that may be due to many reasons, but that fall like poisonous snakes in a moment of doubt and crisis, which the prosecution of the Court of Marsella hopes to clarify.