American cyclist Tom Zirbel announced on his blog Friday that he is retiring from cycling rather than continue an aggressive fight against doping charges.
“I’ve decided to walk away from the sport,” he wrote, saying that he will not contest the 2-year suspension he received after testing positive for DHEA last year. Zirbel, who indicated he still didn’t know how the positive test occurred, said he will share everything he can with investigators.
“Today, I laid all my cards on the table for USADA. I told them everything that I know about the positive test, meaning every possible lead as to how it happened, and that I will cooperate in any way that I can,” he wrote.
Zirbel received the suspension after laboratory analysis of a B sample last month confirmed an earlier positive for DHEA. Zirbel tested positive at the U.S. national championships, where he finished second in the individual time trial. He went on to finish an impressive fourth in the UCI world time trial championships. Both results are likely to be negated.
Zirbel said he is letting go of his attorney but will continue to make some efforts to assure that he could eventually return to the sport if he chooses.
“As great as my lawyer has been for me, I told him that I needed to do this on my own from now on. I have no intention of taking this case to a hearing. Now that I’ve made the determination that I really could and would walk away from the sport forever, it’s liberating. USADA, WADA, and the UCI no longer have power over me. But I will continue to jump through a few hoops (if not too high nor on fire) in order to leave the option open for a return in years to come (though I sort of hope I have the courage to begin a completely new career and never look back),” he wrote.
Zirbel’s blog posting noted that his blossoming pro career had pulled him away from his prior charitable donations and volunteer work.
“(W)hat am I truly after in this life? Asking myself this question today the answer was “to be extraordinary.” I want nothing to do with mediocrity. But on top of that (and what I’ve lost sight of in the last few years), I want to improve the world. Yes, I am a naïve, 30-something dreamer, but I want to help save the world … (but) cycling and racing so consume me that I have little time or energy for anything beyond myself … I’m ready to turn the page and start living a better, more fulfilling life. Whether or not bicycle racing is in that future is too foggy to tell. I hope you all can understand why I’ve chosen this road. It feels so good to be out of the holding pattern.”
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