Samuel Sanchez (BMC Racing) has tested positive for growth hormone releasing peptide GHRP-2, the UCI has announced. The 'adverse analytical finding' is from an out-of-competition test performed on August 9.
GHRP-2 is the same substance that Bardiani-CSF riders Stefano Pirazzi and Nicola Ruffoni tested positive for ahead of the Giro d'Italia. Sanchez was due to ride at the Vuelta a Espana, which starts this Saturday.
"The Union Cycliste Internationale (UCI) announces that Spanish rider Samuel Sánchez Gonzalez was notified of an Adverse Analytical Finding (AAF) of GHRP-2* in a sample collected in the scope of out-of-competition control on 9 August 2017," the UCI wrote in a statement.
"The doping control was planned and carried out by the Cycling Anti-Doping Foundation (CADF), the independent body mandated by the UCI, in charge of defining and implementing the anti-doping strategy in cycling. The rider has the right to request and attend the analysis of the B sample.
"In accordance with UCI Anti-Doping Rules, the rider has been provisionally suspended until the adjudication of the affair."
BMC Racing released a statement soon after the UCI's announcement.
"In accordance with BMC Racing Team's zero tolerance policy and UCI regulation, Sánchez has been provisionally suspended with immediate effect. Until the results of the B sample are provided, no further action will be taken," the team statement said.
"All riders and staff are held to the highest ethical standard and BMC Racing Team is extremely disappointed to share this news on the eve of the Vuelta a España. Loïc Vliegen will replace Sánchez at the Vuelta a España."
A former Olympic Road Race champion, Sanchez's contract with BMC Racing was due to come to an end this season and the Spaniard had said that he would make a decision on the future of his career following the Vuelta a Espana.
Sanchez is the sixth cyclist to test positive for a growth hormone releasing peptide in the past two years.
Colombian track rider Maria Luisa Calle tested positive at the PanAmerican Games in 2015, while Russian Tatiana Antoshina and Samuele Conti of Wilier were banned until 2020 after testing positive last year. Bardiani-CSF riders Stefano Pirazzi and Nicola Ruffoni remain provisionally suspended after testing positive for GHRPs in out-of-competition tests ahead of this year's Giro d'Italia.