Russian track cyclist Victoria Baranova has been sent home from the 2012 London Olympics for failing a pre-Olympics drugs test, an International Cycling Union (UCI) spokesman confirmed on Friday.
The 22-year-old, who was due to take part in Friday's women's keirin competition at the Velodrome at the Olympic Park, was expelled from the games after testing positive for male hormone testosterone.
According to reports, Victoria Baranova failed a drugs test in Belarus on July 24. The sample was taken at the request of the International Olympic Committee (IOC) as part of its pre-Games testing program.
A spokesperson for the International Cycling Union, Enrico Carpani confirmed the news to Press Association Sport in a statement on Friday, saying, "She is already home. She was sent home by her National Olympic Committee yesterday morning."
"She has admitted to taking a banned substance. We have been working closely with the IOC and we are very happy with this collaboration, which strengthens our fight against doping,” Carpani added, according to BBC News.
Reportedly, a hearing had been planned for Friday, but it was cancelled after Baranova herself admitted taking testosterone ahead of the London Games.
BBC Sport analyst and world champion Mark Cavendish commented on Baranova’s situation, calling it disappointing. He said, "It is frustrating. Our sport has been dragged through a lot, really dragged through the mud. It is always in the spotlight."
"It really winds me up. It's not only cycling, but this is a cyclist. We have to put up with the questions and everything. And we just work hard. It's really disappointing," Cavendish added.
Victoria Baranova was set to compete in women's keirin at the Velodrome on Friday, an event in which she is ranked No.2 in the world and was a Great Britain's Victoria Pendleton’s main competitor for the gold medal.
Baranova, who is coached by her father, Alexey Baranov, has been competing on the international circuit for four years. The young athlete has bronze medals to her credit in three World Cup team sprint events, and another in the individual sprint in Cali, Colombia, last December. In July last year, she was crowned European Under-23 keirin champion.
This is not the first time an athlete has been expelled from the 2012 London Games. Earlier this week, Albanian weightlifter Hysen Pulaku tested positive for the steroid Stanozolol, while Uzbek gymnast Luiza Galiulina was found to have taken a drugs masking agent.