Igor Merino (Burgos-BH) has tested positive for growth hormone and been temporarily suspended, the UCI announced Thursday. The non-negative sample was taken mid-June in Spain.
The Spanish Professional Continental team, who have received a wild card invitation to the Vuelta a España, have also suspended the rider and promised an investigation.
In a statement, the team said that Merino has “immediately removed from the team” and that “our work philosophy has always been the maintenance of the most rigid and demanding standards against doping".
It added: "The team will immediately initiate internal investigations to find out and clarify the situation of our rider, within the applicable legal sports framework, reiterating our commitment and zero tolerance on doping.”
It is not the team’s first experience with doping problems. In May 2017 it was announced that David Belda had tested positive for EPO in a targeted out-of-competition test, reportedly based on suspicious biological passport data. He was subsequently give a four-year ban.
Merino, 27, turned pro in 2012 with Orbea and has been with Burgos since 2014. His top career result is fourth in the Tour du Jura in 2017.