Fredy Alexander Gonzales Torres, a doctor for Nairo Quintana who was at the centre of an investigation into possible doping practices at the 2020 Tour de France, is due to go on trial in Marseille in September, AFP reported Tuesday.
Arkéa-Samsic brought Gonzales Torres on for the 2020 Tour de France as a substitute for the team’s usual physician, Jean-Jacques Menuet, who had fallen ill with COVID-19.
The Colombian doctor is accused of “possessing a substance or method that is prohibited for a sporting use without medical justification”. If convicted, Torres could face a five-year prison sentence and a 75,000 euros ($80,500) fine.
The charges stem from a raid on the French team’s hotel rooms and team cars during the 2020 Tour by the Central Office for the Fight against Threats to Environmental and Public Health (OCLAESP).
Investigators focussed on team cars and the rooms in Méribel occupied by Nairo Quintana and his brother Dayer, as well as the team’s soigneurs, after stage 17.
At the time, Le Parisien reported that a team doctor and soigneur were taken into custody after the search turned up “many health products including drugs (…) and especially a method that could be qualified as doping”, including “100ml of saline and injection equipment”.
The UCI’s ‘no needle’ policy prohibits injections without medical necessity.
Quintana claimed only legal vitamins were seized and that he “had nothing to hide” in a statement in 2020 after he appeared before the prosecutor.
“I would like to confirm that no doping substances were ever found,” Quintana stated. “It must be stressed that I have not been the subject of any accusation by the authorities…
“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.”
In 2022, Quintana was disqualified from the Tour de France after tests turned up traces of Tramadol, a painkiller that at the time was banned only under UCI rules but has since been added to the WADA prohibited substance list.
The news comes just as Quintana re-starts his top-level career at the Tour Colombia after rejoining the Movistar team, following a 2023 season spent without a team. The race runs from February 6-11.