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Jimenez Sanchez positive for EPO

Spanish rider Eladio Jiménez Sanchez has been provisionally suspended by the Union Cycliste Internationale after testing positive for the banned blood booster EPO during last summer’s Volta a Portugal.

In a statement released Monday, the UCI said that a Madrid lab found Jiménez Sanchez positive for EPO. The sample was taken on August 12 after Jiménez Sanchez won stage 6 of the Portuguese tour while riding for C.C. Loulé-Louletano. He went on to finish sixth overall at 3:08 behind winner Nuno Ribeiro (Liberty Seguros).

Jiménez Sanchez, 33, is a three-time winner of stages at the Vuelta a España, the last coming in 2005 when he won the prestigious climbing stage to Lagos de Covadonga. A former rider at Kelme and Banesto, he rode for Karpin-Galicia in 2007 and Portuguese teams in 2008-09.

He was poised to join Rock Racing in 2010, but now his future will be uncertain.

“The provisional suspension of Mr. Jiménez Sanchez remains in force until a hearing panel convened by the Spanish cycling federation determines whether he has indeed committed an anti-doping rule violation under Article 21 of the UCI Anti-Doping Rules,” the UCI stated. “Mr. Jiménez Sanchez has the right to request and attend the analysis of his B sample.”

There was no immediate word from Jiménez Sanchez.