By Gregor Brown
David Zabriskie became the fourth American to sign the UCI riders' antidoping commitment this week. Zabriskie joined compatriots Saul Raisin (Crédit Agricole), Tyler Farrar (Cofidis) and Aaron Olson (T-Mobile) in penning his name to the document.
In typical 'Dave Z' sardonic humour, he told Cyclingnews, "I am for 100 percent transparency and am willing to wear a GPS locater so that doping control officers can find me 24/7." Calling from his home in Spain, Zabriskie told Cyclingnews, "If they wanted to do a GPS locator system I would not disagree, I think it would be easier than filling out the athlete location forms."
Zabriskie, wearer of the Tour's Maillot Jaunein 2005, indicated that his Danish team, Team CSC, was not the deciding factor in his acceptance of the commitment. "The team sent an e-mail saying we had to do it, but I was going to do it on my own. 'We download the document and we would like everyone to sign it,' they wrote in an e-mail."
Zabriskie put his name to the document that reads, "I do solemnly declare, to my team, my colleagues, the UCI, the cycling movement and the public that I am not involved in the Puerto affair nor in any other doping case and that I will not commit any infringement to the UCI antidoping rules. At the same time, I declare to the Spanish Law, that my DNA is at its disposal, so that it can be compared with the blood samples seized in the Puerto affair."
Less than two weeks to the Grand Départ of the Tour de France there seems to be dissension amongst the ProTour riders, and even within team CSC. Just before Cyclingnews spoke with Zabriskie, his Swiss team-mate Fabian Cancellara noted on tuttobiciweb.com his disapproval of the UCI's actions.
"It is truly stupid. I am 100 percent against it," noted Cancellara. "I want to phone the president of the UCI and say that something is not right. He is acting like a godfather..."
Cancellara, like Filippo Pozzato (vice president of the ACCPI) last week, is expressing his disapproval of the UCI's measures. Is the UCI taking too much power and is the cyclist voice lost in the rush to clean up a sport that is the most tightly controlled? "I can't say I am against it and I want the sport to clean up," Zabriskie stated. "I wish I had a little more input before they made their final decision, but this is the way they went about it and I am onboard.
By signing the agreement, riders agree to give up a year's salary if they test positive, and that concerns Zabriskie. "You want that the testing will be 100% accurate. You don't want to end up paying a year's salary [out of error]. You sign this document hoping that they act in good faith because I am acting in good faith, but you never know and I just hope for the best."
The UCI is demanding that all riders who wish to to race in the Tour de France sign the document, and Zabriskie was unsure of whether or not that was a fair demand. "It is difficult to say," he told Cyclingnews. "I can't say that I disagree with them for trying to fight for their rights. I believe strongly in rights. One way to gain rights is to essentially give up all of your rights; gain privacy by giving up all your privacy. It is the way the sport has become and I am willing to adapt to it. ... Those guys should be allowed to race."
Zabriskie is still awaiting for Team CSC to release names of the nine men who will represent the squad in the Tour de France. "I am sitting here in limbo, in space. ... I am waiting to see if I can go to the Tour," he said. "I should know in the next couple of days. The way I performed my chances should be good. I have improved a lot in mountains and I will help Carlos [Sastre] and Fränk [Schleck] in the mountains."