Two people have been taken into custody as French prosecutors launched an investigation into suspected doping at the Tour de France by the Arkea-Samsic team.

The Marseille prosecutor's office told AFP on Monday that they are carrying out an investigation into a "small part” of the team, which was led by Nairo Quintana at the Tour.

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Prosecutor Dominique Laurens says the investigation started after the "discovery of many health products including drugs… and especially a method that could be qualified as doping.”

The probe targeted "the administration and prescription without medical justification of a substance or a method prohibited during a sporting event, and helping and encouraging the use of that substance or method," the statement added.

Arkea-Samsic's team manager, Emmanuel Hubert, confirmed the team's hotel had been raided last week, following the summit finish at Col de la Loze on Stage 17.

He said the search targeted a "very limited" number of riders as well as their entourage, who he said were not employed by the team, insisting that the investigation did "not target the team or its staff directly".

Hubert added in a statement: "We obviously support our riders, but if the investigation confirms the veracity of doping practices, the team would immediately dissociate itself from such acts".

A statement from the UCI, cycling's governing body, read: "The UCI welcomes and supports the actions of all parties involved and will take the appropriate measures once it has been taken note of the information obtained by the French legal authorities.”

L’Equipe reported the search was carried out as part of a preliminary investigation and was not organised in cooperation with the French anti-doping agency (AFLD).

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