Alberto Gallego has been provisionally suspended by the UCI after testing positive for the banned substance Stanozolol and, less than a month into his time at Caja Rural-Seguros RGA, his contract with the Spanish Pro Continental team has been rescinded.
The name of the 25-year-old, who was signed from Portuguese Continental outfit Radio Popular, appeared Tuesday on the UCI's list of provisional suspensions for potential anti-doping rule violations. The adverse analytical finding relates to a test carried out on January 3, just three days into his professional tenure, and the substance is listed as Stanozolol Metabolite, an anabolic steroid.
A short time later, the Caja Rural team published a statement on their website, informing that they had terminated the Spaniard's contract.
"The Caja Rural-Seguros RGA team informs that it has decided to rescind the contract of the rider Alberto Gallego after finding out about anomalies discovered in the result of a control carried out on January 3 2016," read the statement.
"The decision has been taken in accordance with what is established in the current regulations, and in compliance with the internal regulations of the team. The rider came into the team on January 1 2016 and he hasn't participated in any race on this season's programme."
Gallego impressed on the Spanish amateur scene, where he was ranked number one before earning a deal with Radio Popular in 2014. He caught the eye at last year's Route du Sud, where he finished seventh on the queen stage and went on to finish seventh overall behind the likes of Alberto Contador and Nairo Quintana.
He was due to start his season on Sunday at the Grand Prix Cycliste de la Marseillaise, and had his sights on earning a ride at the Vuelta a España later in the year.
The Spaniard attended the team's first winter gathering in November and told the team's website he had good first impressions.
"This first contact was very productive in that they have got us up to speed on team matters and we're all getting along very well," he said. "We are working together in the best way to create a unified team. I expect to be there for the team when needed and to make the most of good moments in mountain stages."
When Caja Rural announced the signing, manager Juanma Hernández said: “[He] can make very valid contributions to the team. His profile fits well with our team, he is a courageous rider who climbs very well and is one of our national cycling’s great young assets. He has been proving his talent since his Amateur days and, this year, has experienced a significant leap in quality."
Gallego may now request B-sample analysis of the finding but would face an official ban if it corroborates the original finding.
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