Marseilles (AFP)

Two police custody were underway Monday after the discovery of a "method that could be qualified as doping" as part of a preliminary investigation targeting "a small part of the riders" of Arkéa-Samsic during the Tour de France, a announced the Marseille prosecutor's office.

"The Marseille prosecutor's office confirms that it has seized under the public health pole of an investigation currently carried out by the Central Office for the fight against attacks on the environment and public health (OCLAESP) on suspicions of doping aimed at a small part of the team of runners "Arkéa-Samsic, writes Dominique Laurens, the prosecutor of Marseille, in a press release.

"Two police custody are in progress," she adds, without giving the identity of those placed in police custody, but adding that "many health products including drugs had been discovered in their personal belongings, but also and above all a method that can be qualified as doping ".

Asked about the opening of this investigation, the general manager of the Breton team, Emmanuel Hubert, did not wish to react on Monday.

According to details provided to AFP by a source familiar with the case confirming information from Journal du Dimanche and L'Equipe, a search carried out by OCLAESP targeting several riders of the team, including the Colombian Dayer Quintana, the brother de Nairo, and members of the medical team, was conducted.

The search, according to the two newspapers, took place on Wednesday near Méribel (Savoie).

This preliminary investigation was opened by the public health pole of the Marseille prosecutor's office "heads of administration and prescription to an athlete without medical justification of a substance or method prohibited within the framework of a sporting event, aid in the use and incitement for the use of a substance or method prohibited for athletes, transport and possession of a substance or method prohibited for the purpose of use by an athlete without medical justification ", also specified the prosecutor Dominique Laurens, recalling that the penalty incurred was 5 years of imprisonment and a 75,000 euro fine.

Leader of the Arkéa-Samsic team, Nairo Quintana finished the event in 17th place, more than an hour behind the winner, the Slovenian Tadej Pogacar.

In the same team, Frenchman Warren Barguil finished in 14th place, 31 minutes from Pogacar.

Heir directly to the formation called Bretagne then Fortuneo, Arkéa-Samsic has taken on an additional dimension in recent years by signing these two riders.

This case is the first notable for several years on the Tour de France after many years marked by police raids during the event since the Festina affair in 1998.

Among the most recent, the intervention during a day of rest of the Tour 2012 against Rémy Di Grégorio but also the systematic searches of Oclaesp at each positive doping control announcement, in particular that of Luxembourgish Frank Schleck in 2012.

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