The 2008 Olympic champion Samuel Sánchez is facing the possible end of his career after being named as failing an anti-doping test for a banned GH-Releasing Peptide.
The Spaniard, who had been listed as part of the BMC Racing Team’s squad for the Vuelta a España, will now miss the start of that race while the case continues. He had previously said he was aiming for a strong showing in the event and wanted to be part of the fight for a stage win.
In a statement issued on Thursday afternoon, the UCI explained the circumstances.
“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,” it stated.
GH-Releasing Peptides (GHRPs) are classified as ‘Peptide Hormones, Growth Factors, Related Substances and Mimetics’ as per the World Anti-Doping prohibited list, and are therefore banned.
“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.”
It added that he has been provisionally suspended and has the right to request and attend the analysis of the B sample.
At 39 years of age, it looks likely that the recent Tour of Poland was his final competitive event.
His team has issued a statement on the matter, and said that it only learned the news today.
“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 Sánchez Gonzalez,” it stated.
“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.
“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.”
Sanchez turned pro in 2000 with the Euskaltel-Euskadi team and competed there for over a decade. He moved to the BMC Racing Team prior to the start of the 2013 season and has been with that team ever since. His career results include that Olympic road race success, second overall in the 2010 Tour de France, five stage wins in the Vuelta a España plus overall wins in the Vuelta al Pais Vasco and the Vuelta a Burgos.