Olympic champion Samuel Sanchez has tested positive for banned substance GHRP-2, a synthetic peptide that causes the release of growth hormone within the body, the UCI announced Thursday.
Sanchez, 39, has been provisionally suspended by the UCI and his BMC team pending results from his B sample. Sanchez was slated to join BMC at the Vuelta a Espana, which begins Saturday, but will now be replaced by Loïc Vliegen on BMC’s roster. The sample was taken in an out-of-competition test on August 9.
“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 said in a statement.
GHRP-2 stimulates the pituitary gland to produce endogenous human growth hormone, which can help increase endurance and improve recovery and weight loss. Earlier this year, Bardiani-CSF riders Stefano Pirazzi and Nicola Ruffoni tested positive for the same substance.
“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,” team BMC said in a statement.
Sanchez took home gold in the Olympic road race in 2008, was second overall at the Tour de France in 2010, and has won five stages of the Vuelta a Espana. His BMC contract is up at the end of the 2017 season, and he previously stated that he would make a decision regarding the future of his long career after the Vuelta.