Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Sanctified

Well, actually I've been sanctioned but it's nearly spelled the same. And why can't I believe that this has all happened for a larger purpose? I have agreed to a 2 year sanction from cycling today. Ouch, that hurt my gut. Even when my friends and family know that I am not a cheat, it still hurts to write this and it really hurt to send that fax today. However, I believe this to be my best course of action and I'll try to explain why. 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.
So, I guess there will be some sort of press release from USADA announcing my acceptance of the sanction. Then I can only assume there will be much back-slapping and smiles all around as another doper has been purged from sport. Ugh. This anti-doping system in place is....how can we be diplomatic here?...needing serious reform.
Hang with me here, folks. I'm trying my best. I'm not turning my back on cycling and I'm not giving up. As my new friend Sarai pointed out, "Cycling can save the world!" So I guess I can suck it up and help make it better.

16 comments:

vicki said...

Hey Tom,

We've never met, but I just want you to know that you are a bike racing idol for me. I'm a Canadian cyclo-cross racer, and your racing success has been very motivating to me. I can't imagine how you are feeling these days. Just know that there are people out there who support you. Life sucks sometimes. But, like you, I believe everything happens for a reason. You've got some lemons - so time to make some damn tasty lemonade. Looking forward to reading about your next adventure.

unnamed said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous said...

Bjarne Riis, Erik Zabel, Ivan Basso, Tyler Hamilton, Floyd Landis, Michael Rasmussen, Alessandro Petacchi, the list goes on and on. What makes you different Tom?
-James Carrico

TomZ said...

James and others,
you don't know me so I don't expect you to believe what I say but I've attached some files for you to read so that you can see that it's not always black and white. In these cases below, it was PROVEN that there was no intent to cheat by the athlete and further, in 2 of the 3 the values of adverse findings were so low that you'd be hard pressed to say that there could have been any level of performance enhancement whatsoever. Yet these athletes still got 6 months - 1 year. Does that seem fair? Do you think that Amber Neben, who was found to have 7ng/mL of a steroid in her system from a contaminated supplement should be in the same category as Bjarne Riis, whose nickname was "60+" because that would often be his hematocrit at big races?

http://www.usantidoping.org/files/active/arbitration_rulings/arbitration_ruling_10_21_2003_Neben.pdf
http://www.usada.org/files/active/arbitration_rulings/AAA_CAS%20Decision%20-%20Hardy%20-%20May%202009.pdf
http://www.usada.org/files/active/arbitration_rulings/arbitration_ruling_4_3_2003_Moninger.pdf

otis said...

Atta boy Z!

Eryn said...

Hey Tom,
I'm very impressed with how dignified and professional you are dealing with all of this. When your signing to Garmin was announced I was stoked. Knowing the standards they hold for riders I know you didn't cheat. Not sure if you saw JV's twitter post today: "Vaughters Rode the chairlift with Travis Tygart, CEO USADA the other day-Good guy...but...gotta say, I wish Zirbel could be racing with us this year."
Keep your head up my man, I believe you and I know you believe in yourself!

jon | M | holmes said...

Hope you can take comfort in your clear conscience, as I'm sure that there are many riders who are racing, winning and celebrating, but lack the clear conscience that you possess. I appreciate the professional way that you're handling this and hope you find the answers that will clear your name.

Anonymous said...

All, please read David Zabriskie's comments about Tom Z. and his character and honesty on the bottom of page 32 thru top of page 34 in the most recent VeloNews mag. and then see what you think of Mr. Zirbel.
Still proud of you Tom

Uncle Don H.

Timmo said...

Still love you man. Hang in there!

Anonymous said...

you tell us you're innocent. Whatever. Show us you're innocent. We might have reason to believe you. Start by posting your test results.

Joe said...

I hope you find the culprit. Too many manufacturing facilities make too many things. Just look at some of your food that says it might contain nuts or nut oils and there are NO nut ingredients!

Companies are too cheap to change out tooling between different clients. I imagine this may have been the case with a batch of anything you may have consumed.

Hell it could be some of those Hershey bars made in Mexico!

Joe said...

Tom, I am definitely a fan and wish you the best. I know of your reputation second hand from BenO.

Lani galyer said...

We all miss u out here on the road-it's just not the same w/out u. Sounds like yr having fun in the foothills-keep up the great attitude-graeme and I think about u all the time. :)

TomZ said...

Anonymous (boy that is a common name in discussion forums) brought up an interesting point in his/her comment: "start by posting your test results." Funny thing is, I don't have access to my test results. You would think that because it is my urine sample that I would have a right to the values associated with it but you would be wrong. I know that 20 or so tests say "Negative" and I know that 1 test came back with 186 ng/mL of DHEA and a corresponding CIR analysis confirming synthetic origin. I'll touch on this policy more at another time. In the meantime, I thought this was entertaining and right on the money.
http://www.mcclatchydc.com/2010/04/02/91397/commentary-anonymity-and-our-baser.html

Anonymous said...

I think what really matters here is what you think of yourself Tom. It is great that you have so much support, and I'm certainly glad people that know you personally are standing up for you with so much passion. It's also good that you have skepticism because unfortunately, it's what this sport needs.

It's fundamentally really hard for a lot of people to see cases like this differently than any others because the truth is that you are the only one that knows. I hope you are as a good of a person on the inside as you are on the outside, but that's your question.

James Carrico

Anonymous said...

I know that this is a dream lost and is incredibly heart breaking but it is good to hear you speak of life outside of bikes. Despite how wrapped up we all get in this sport, dedicating upteenth hours and energies to going fast, there are many things in this world equally important (if not more so). I read recently that you are looking for ways to give back in this world and I cannot think of a better way to get past your own setbacks than to serve others. You go! There is so much in this life and cycling is one mere morsel.