American accepts ban but still denies doping
Tom Zirbel has been suspended for two years by the US Anti-doping Agency, after testing positive for the steroid DHEA at the US Pro time trial championships last August. The 30-year-old said he accepted the ban, but continued to maintain his innocence.
Zirbel rode for the US-based Continental-ranked Bissell Pro Cycling team from 2006 to 2009. He was planning to ride for Garmin-Transitions this year, but the contract fell through due to the positive doping test. He had been notified in February that he would receive the ban and at that time announced his retirement from the sport.
Zirbel placed second in the time trial championship, and fourth in the Worlds time trial race. Those and all other competitive results after that race were disqualified. DHEA is an anabolic steroid.
Writing on his blog, Zirbel said that he accepted the sanction, although it hurt. “Nothing has really changed: I will still continue to have testing done to try and figure out how this all happened in the first place and I still won't be racing. The only difference is that by accepting this sanction, I may actually gain a little credibility with USADA. I really am trying to work with them so we can make sure this doesn't happen again."
“And if I can walk away from racing forever, maybe people will be more willing to listen when they know I have nothing to gain personally. I'm not lobbying for change to save my own career, I'm lobbying for change to save the next clean athlete's career. In the meantime, I may actually be able to move on with my life and start this next chapter that I've talked about.”
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