French police have released two people who were being questioned as part of an investigation into suspected doping by the Arkea-Samsic team at this year's Tour de France.

Investigators had been questioning two people among the close entourage of the team's lead rider Nairo Quintana, a twice runner-up in the Tour de France and a Vuelta and Giro champion.

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Quintana, who was allowed to continue working with his own doctor when he signed a three-year deal with Arkea-Samsic this year, denied using any banned substances and that the ones the raid found were "perfectly legal".

He said he had earlier answered investigators' questions with "a clear conscience" on social media on Tuesday evening, also stating he had nothing to hide and would continue to co-operate with the authorities.

"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.

He continued: "I would also like to clear up a misunderstanding: neither during the recent Tour, nor during any other previous race, I have never consulted assistants or staff who were not part of the team. I do not have, and have never had, anything to hide.

"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."

The pair were released from custody on Tuesday night and the investigation continues, the Marseille prosecutor's office said in a statement.

Arkea-Samsic team manager Emmanuel Hubert said on Monday that the investigation did "not target the team or its staff directly".

Additional reporting from Reuters.

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