Samuel Sánchez has been given a back-dated ban for a positive test in 2017.
The Spaniard returned a positive result in August 2017 and has been under a provisional suspension since, while the UCI investigated the anti-doping rule violation.
Cycling’s governing body the UCI announced on Monday (May 13) that Sánchez, a former BMC Racing rider, would be banned for two years.
The sanction has been backdated, so the 41-year-old will be eligible to race again after August 16, 2019.
Sánchez was provisionally suspended after testing positive for the growth hormone GHRP-2 in an out-of-competition test on August 9, 2017, with the UCI confirming the finding just days before the Vuelta a España.
BMC then terminated his contract in October that year after analysis of the B sample confirmed the finding.
Sánchez, Olympic road race champion at the 2008 games, said in the wake of the positive test that it was “a total surprise” and that he “could not believe it.”
A statement from the UCI said: “Samuel Sánchez has been sanctioned with a period of ineligibility of two years, following an anti-doping rule violation committed on August 9.
“After careful review of the explanations and evidence submitted by Mr Sánchez, the UCI has accepted the likelihood that the origin of the ADVR was a contaminated supplement Mr Sánchez was using.
“While the UCI would have preferred the case to be resolved sooner, establishing the source of the ADRV required multiple scientific analyses, as well as follow-up investigations, to make sure the correct conclusions were reached.”
After being suspended, Sánchez set up The Samuel Sánchez-MMR Cycling Academy to support riders aged from nine to 18 years old.
The academy, based in Asturias in northern Spain where Sánchez is from, was established in 2015.
Sánchez started his career with Euskatel-Euskadi where he remained until 2013, before making the switch to BMC.
During his career he finished second in the Tour de France and Vuelta a España overall, and winning five stages of the Vuelta.
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