Former Olympic road race champion Samuel Sanchez (BMC Racing) has tested positive for growth hormone, the UCI has confirmed.
The Spaniard tested positive for GHRP-2 in an out-of-competition test on August 9, and has been notified by the governing body about his Adverse Analytical Finding (AAF).
39-year-old Sanchez, who won his Olympic gold medal at the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games, has now been provisionally suspended following the positive test.
GHRP-2 is the same substance that Bardiani-CSF riders Stefano Pirazzi and Nicola Ruffoni tested positive for ahead of the Giro d’Italia in May.
The UCI says the test "was planned and carried out by the Cycling Anti-Doping Foundation (CADF)," an independent body, and Sanchez has requested the right to attend the testing of his B sample.
BMC Racing have since announced that they will replace Sanchez in their Vuelta a España line-up with Loïc Vliegen, with the year's final Grand Tour set to begin on Saturday with a team time trial.
"BMC Racing Team was notified on Thursday, 17 August by the Union Cycliste Internationale (UCI) of a potential anti-doping violation for the presence of GHRP-2 and its metabolite, in an out-of-race anti-doping control for Samuel Sanchez Gonzalez," a BMC statement read.
"In accordance with BMC Racing Team's zero tolerance policy and UCI regulation, Sanchez has been provisionally suspended with immediate effect. Until the results of the B sample are provided, no further action will be taken.
"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."
Sanchez began his career in 2000 with Basque squad Euskaltel-Euskadi before leaving for BMC after the team disbanded in 2013.
He was due to be out of contract at the end of this 2017 season and contemplating retirement.
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