Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Weighing In

91.6 kg this morning - over 200 lbs! Oh, but the real reason for this post is to weigh in on all the recent doping drama from our sport. This shall serve more as a therapeutic session than any real agenda. I guess that overall I'm happy that all of the filthy, smelly details of the doping practices of the previous decade are coming out. I would say that most people who've been around the sport long enough knew that PEDs were the norm back then but we had no real way of knowing the methods or just how far the rabbit hole went. So in a sick way, it's cool to hear just how disgustingly far some racers were going in order to win. It further validates us, the clean racers of our sport. And for the most part, I empathize with their situations at the time and I understand how one would lead their life in that direction and I even feel sorry for them for having to lie for so many years and now having to face friends, family, journalists, strangers, and the almighty internet warriors. But, please allow me to vent for just one moment so that I can air my grievances and then put this drama firmly behind me. Okay, here we go... Given the nature of these confessions, I think it's bullshit that these riders are being commended for 'breaking the Omerta.' I don't believe for one second that these guys decided to confess to past indiscretions for a better cycling future. They confessed because they were certain that the details were going to be leaked out one way or another and USADA offered them a reduced suspension and a chance to tell their side of the story first. In that way, they could somehow seem like the good guys because they are trying to clean up the future of cycling (rather than complete damage control!). And what did they get for years of EPO use, testosterone patches, and whatever else they could get their hands on? They got a six-month suspension during the offseason and commendations for their bravery. Oh, but they're reaaaally sorry for taking drugs all those years ago. It was the worst decision they ever made, and they've felt so guilty ever since, yada, yada, yada. Doesn't sound like a bad decision to me - you're friggin millionaires! Don't worry you can hire the best therapists money can buy to help you through this difficult time, assholes. And how about these half-assed confessions? "I only took EPO a few times and never consistently", "Johan made me do it", "Lance is a big, scary, 150 lb bully", "I took PEDs but I didn't inhale" (I paraphrase). It all smells to me. Self-preservation is the name of the game. There was nothing altruistic in these half-truth confessions. Tell me Hincapie, Vande Velde, Danielson, Zabriskie, and Leipheimer: if you chose to cheat and lie through your Postal years and then continue to lie a further 6 years later, why should we believe you when you say that you've been racing clean since 2005/2006 (or that you weren't cheating before your Postal days)? I have a really hard time believing that. I hope it's true but if the risk of being caught continued to be low and the lure of results, money, and adulation continued to be high, it would have to be quite the sudden alignment of their respective moral compasses. Okay, so say that everyone one of the confessors stopped taking PEDs in 2006 as they claim, what about the residual effects of drugs? Their level of training and racing on PEDs was so much higher than what they could achieve sans that the benefits of that could last for years, right? There are no studies about this that I know of but I have to believe that the Grand Tours, training, etc. that they did on the juice had to be beneficial to the body for years to come. Not to mention the confidence and other mental aspects gained while riding/racing better than you're capable of naturally. In all, it seems like a pretty sweet deal for these guys. I know that they say that these confessions were made in order for cycling to have a clean future but I'd say that they're encouraging the opposite! Look kids, if you dope yourself silly and get some really good results, then you'll have job security for the next few years and make yourself some good cash. Then, if the shit hits the fan, just blame it all on a ring leader (Lance/Johan) and sound really sorry and you should come away relatively unscathed. How's that for pessimism! Okay, I feel better. I know I over simplified and demonized in this rant, but something about this whole deal rubs me the wrong way. I don't really hate these guys or anything, it's just pretty frustrating given my history in this sport. I'd say I have a pass to bitch about this just this once. Thanks for reading.
Our makeshift blood bag (boxed wine) during our Positive Party! in Jan. 2010.

48 comments:

Anonymous said...

Thanks for writing exactly what I've been saying. I have lost all respect for these guys I once considered athletic heroes. I save the most venom for Armstrong, who I have long considered a lying, cheating, sexist, egotistical bully. Sad that so many have fallen. Sad for the sport and its fans.

Anonymous said...

Yes. These guys get six mos. suspension, keep all of there awards, get to blame there use on someone else and Cpt'n America will still get to wear his suit to the very first race next year. Not to mention the money. I wonder if those guys sent thank you notes to Travis T.?

Amen

Don H.

Burt Friggin' Hoovis said...

Despite his penchant for martyrdom, the guy I think got hosed is Decanio. He comes out years before all these other jackasses and admits to EPO use by his own volition. His reward? A two year ban. All the fuckers who were the Wise Guys to Lance the Don get a 6 month suspension that they get to serve over the winter. That'd be like me punishing my kids by sending them to their room at bedtime...

Thanks!
Burt

steevo said...

" Don't worry you can hire the best therapists money can buy to help you through this difficult time, assholes. "

Glad to hear this summary from somebody in your position.

Travis said...

What!? Who are you to talk? Last time I checked you GOT BUSTED in 2010! You are as big a hypocrite as all the other ex-dopers! What happened to you retiring? What happened to proving your positive DHEA test was a false positive?

No, instead you came back to race after USADA reduced your 2 year sanction to 6 months!! WTF!?
"According to Zirbel, his sanctioning was reduced because he aided the agency in two separate anti-doping cases."--Cyclingnews.com
You are even worst than the Vande Velde, Danielson, Zabriskie, ect. Because you doped and got caught on a domestic level!!

People haven't forgot.

Whatever said...

Tom, your comment about the mental edge earned in doping is a good one, and one not voiced elsewhere. Does give some thought and additional ammo to the "still the best athlete of the entire doped field" incorrect assertion as well.

But you popped a +. You have zero ground to stand on. Sorry, that's how it works. You are part of the same group. It was in your body, I don't care how it got there. Your fault.

You failed a test, these guys never did. Even though they are cheats. Prolly bigger cheats than you. But cheats nonetheless. Just like you too.

Anonymous said...

Wow - saying Zirbel is a cheat just like these guys. Not much up on the meaning of words, eh? Here's some help:
http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/cheat
Once you've checked that out you'll see Zirbel isn't anything like these guys and there is no deceit, trickery, or outwitting in his case. He did have a positive test and due to strict liability he served an 18 month suspension (not a 6 month). He never denied the test and he never said he shouldn't be suspended. All he denied was that he knew how a non-performance-enhancing-banned substance got in his body. Meanwhile we have guys who knowingly did something that really was deceitful for years and are continuing the deceit by claiming their confessions were made to help the sport rather than themselves. If you are grouping Tom with them they are even better cheaters because they have totally outwitted you.

There is a great point raised here though. How can we not see these guys as just getting away with it yet again, where is the fairness? Maybe they should be forced to buy ad space on StolenUnderground.com They should probably be forced to visit Simeoni's bistros and tip big. Maybe they should help pay Tyler Hamilton's therapy bills. Heck, maybe they should help Floyd payback the Fairness Fund money before he ends up in prison for fraud. Those guys broke the omertà for reasons other than saving their own behinds and they burned for it. The ex-USPS guys are just pulling off one last great cheat.

-CB

Jody said...

Tom,
I am amazed at the number of "fans" you have commenting within a day of it's posting! You can see your passion for the sport in this post and I'm guessing you feel a little better after stating your opinion. It's all very disgusting. You should be proud to know you are able to race clean against these guys and still contend with them, we're so proud!! :)
Love, The Clemens Family

Anonymous said...

How do we know Tom never did something deceitful for years. He did something wrong, that he knew was wrong, and got caught. Once is enough. He's a cheat.

Every elite athlete KNOWS they are 100% responsible for EVERYTHING that goes in their body.

Thanks for the super weak, "looking I'm pointing to a dictionary" defense.

Tom makes great points in this post, but there is no room on the high horse for him.

BTW, most of us got over here because porn-lover Hoovis posted up the link. So I guess we too love porn and hate dopers.

Anonymous said...

Oh, and BTW, Vaughters is the gold standard for accepting riders with past bad behavior that he knows are now clean.

Seems odd JV wouldn't take Tom back. What does Slipstream know that we don't?

Anonymous said...

I'm guessing Slipstream knows they have a limited budget? Vaughters has already went out on a limb to publicly support Zirbel. Here is one example:
http://www.velonation.com/News/ID/3682/Zirbel-accepts-doping-suspension-Vaughters-shows-support.aspx

-CB

will freeland said...

and don't forget to include vaughters in the ranting - for all the "clean" he's responsible for, his admission of personal guilt at the 11th hour is beyond shameful.

Anonymous said...

You were caught doping. You're part of the problem. end.
And I'm here because of Hovvis' porn too.
I'm into cycling, porn, and lots of other things. i just can't think of any right now.

TomZ said...

Yeah, these porn/cycling loving visitors make a good point. It takes a lot of faith to just believe someone who claims innocence. I'm no different from the Posties in that respect. I hope people will believe me that I've never doped but why would they if they've never met me? For that reason, I think I owe these guys the benefit of the doubt in this case. I have to hope and believe that they are 'reformed' and truly sorry for all those years of bull shit. And being as I was never in that situation (young, racing in Europe during the doping heyday), I can't rightfully judge them for their decisions. I know I didn't make the best decisions at age 21! So yeah, this rant served it's purpose. I feel better now and I hope that these guys can move on with their lives and even continue racing if they'd like to. Thanks for all of the feedback and for calling me out on my hypocrisy of expecting everyone to just believe that I'm innocent with nothing more than my word.
Vive le cyclisme!

Anonymous said...

I believe you Tom, and I'm in your corner.

Don H.

TT specialist said...

Tom this is pure gold, man! Miss you as a teammate, but I'm happy to be "out of the game" at this point!

Anonymous said...

My take is this whole stories(s) coming from the USADA investigation is a moot point if Hamilton and Landis never got caught. I suspect they stay silent and LA continues to occupy 7TdF victories. So yea, not real heroes.

On the other hand, I am just as skeptical of you and your doping story as I am of Contador and his Clenbuterol and Frank Schlek and his diuretic. The doper caught with his pants down so to speak is always quick to point to some ridiculous alibi.

Anonymous said...

You really should explain why you got off early? If not you are one of those guys.....

motorad666 said...

Was Rick Crawford ever your coach?

Anonymous said...

You are part of the problem dude. On the upside of things it looks like you won't make it to a Pro Tour team so there's karma for ya.

Anonymous said...

You seem like a nice guy Tom and I want to believe you but one has to ask... what results have you achieved since the year that you tested positive that come anywhere near the 4th place at Worlds? I don't know you at all but these are the sorts of results that say to me, he's a another doper/liar, as there seems to be no shortage of them in our sport. Educate me. Why should I see you differently?

Joe Frost said...

That is the problem isn't it....doping still...even now...still pays.

Anonymous said...

You made some great points. However, I really think all those guys should have been kicked out - completely. What happen to zero tolerance? People will continue to cheat (the TdF has a long history of this) as long as the rewards outweigh the risks.

Anonymous said...

TZ,

I've been following your blog for a few years. I believe in your innocence. I remember seeing you on the last stage of the 2008 TOC holding off a strong chase group on a misrable day. I read about your signing to Garmin. I know that you probalbly lost out on $60k/year and 2 plus prime years of your career. After your + you were damaged goods. I believe in your innocense and admire the candor in your post. I'm wondering if, to reference of one of your blog posts, a World Tour rider weclomed you back to the pelton at the TOC with the greeting, "What's up, B****". You said he was one of your most respected buddy's. I thought it may have been DZ. Maybe your feelings have changed now. Anyway, I know you lost out through no purposeful deceit. I know you didn't cheat. You don't seem like the person that would knowingly cheat. For your nay-sayers... I'd bet that'd possibly test postive for some illigal substance if they were tested with the scrutiny at which you were tested. i.e. ef.DHEA; or DHEAS have been advertised with claims that they may be beneficial for a wide variety of ailments. DHEA and DHEAS are readily available in the United States, where they are marketed as over-the-counter dietary supplements.

Allen H. Thompson

michael creed said...

As to anyone who wants to attack a public figure while be anonymous. You're not glib, you're not funny.
You're afraid to have true feelings, you're afraid to hold something sacred . You have zero content in your life. I fucking dare you to have something in your life that you can't explain in a tweet or behind the a false name. Fuck you, your blame. And your little fucking worries. Tom is a honest guy, he's ugly and looks like a cartoon character. But if the peloton was filled with riders like him, we wouldnt have the problems we do now.

Anonymous said...

Well said Zirbel. The 6 month suspension is BS and we all know if those guys weren't forced to testify they'd take their doping past to the grave. Funny to me how these guys all of a sudden think they can help the sport by racing "clean" today and being positive role models. The only way I see them helping is simply to retire. No one cares for the Danielsons, Zabriskies or Levis anymore when you have Tejay, Busche Talanksy and Phinney leading the charge.

-Unclewilly

Anonymous said...

All the Ad hominem bullshit is just that: bullshit! I don't give a **** if Tom did or did not dope, that has NOTHING to do with his point of all the hypocrisy going on now. Like him, I have nothing against nor any animus towards any of the "whistle-blowers," but Tom sure as shit makes a good point about these guys being well compensated "victims" of Lance's and Johan's supposed bullying. Someone bully me into taking a quarter-million dollar a year job for a several years and then slap me with a meaningless off-season suspension after I admit to conveniently timed wrongdoing. Please!

Nice post, Mr. Zirbel.

Anonymous said...

Didn't read your post.

Google "paragraphs" and learn.

Anonymous said...

So Tom (or any other poster) ...to quote you - "I think it's bullshit that these riders are being commended for 'breaking the Omerta'". Can you provide any scenario where you believe it's ok to 'break the Omerta'? i.e. if they got 2yr bans I assume you would support their disclosures? HOW WOULD YOU SOLVE THE PROBLEM???? Back up your rant with a vaguely workable solution and you might actually regain a little credibility. Steve James

Liz Carlson said...

Amen.

whareagle said...

I think what this post exposes is that USADA are not saints by any means, and may have been part of the problem. They pursued Tom with an aggressive zero-tolerance agenda, yet they were flexible with top athletes who had made much, much more than Tom, did their deeds willingly, and escaped positives for at least a decade, maybe longer. Tom is NOT guilty of doping. He's guilty of an incidental contamination, and honestly, I think you could and should lump Contador and Schleck in there as well.

USADA, UCI and the other alphabet soups can't act like Michael Chiklis in an episode of "The Shield"... killing and maiming and doing their own dirty deeds in order to 'get' the greater bad-guys, or at least control them. They MUST hold the higher standard, and if a bad actor gets away with something, then they have to curl their waxed mustaches, raise their eyebrows, and say "Curses, foiled again! We'll get you yet, Black Bart!" Instead, we get uneven application and enforcement, passive acquiescence of what is now shown to be a truly institutionalized doping program, and lots of solo players on the fringes getting popped either for something they truly did not know that they were doing, or some weak attempt to bridge up to the more established players.

Tom didn't do anything wrong. He ingested something that was contaminated, and got TWO FREAKING YEARS for it. That he came forward and told some tales about 3rd party rumors he'd heard, in order to get a curtailed sentence, tells you what's going on in USADA's mind. Good Lord.

Remember the line from "A Man for All Seasons".... "In your zeal to hunt for the devil, if you knew he was hiding in the woods, what would you do?"

"I'd cut down every tree in the forest to out him!"

"And when the last tree was felled, WHERE WOULD YOU HIDE?!"

Declare amnesty, hold a Truth and Reconciliation globally, establish 3rd party governance and testing protocols, unionize the athletes and coaches and officials, practice sound profit sharing, PRIVATIZE THE BUSINESS TO SOME DEGREE, and focus on growing the sport among youth and women, where the lost revenue can and will be located.

And finally ----- FORGIVE.

Anonymous said...

The real crime here is Tom weighing in at 200lbs. Go on a diet.

Anonymous said...

I have friends that were clean pro cyclist's who now sit behind desks because their Top 10's were never enough for that contract and that salary to live on. As far as im concerned all these guys that just came out because they "had to" stole other peoples dreams and other peoples contracts. It bullshit. If I was on a continental pro team I would stage a protest every time those slipstreamer's show up at a race this year. Oh and Danielson just starting to dope at postal, really? How about the Mercury and Saturn days when he went from a decent collegiate mt. biker to a pro roadie that was lapping the mens field and winning everything the NRC had to offer. Please. Rick Crawford was his coach and was Levi's coach at the same time. Levi was admittedly doping way back then, but Danielson wasn't? Those guys should have to pay back all winnings and all salaries for those years, period.

Anonymous said...

This is a bullshit post by a guy in a worse position than those he's commenting on. Perhaps this would hold more weight if the author hadn't posted a positive result for doping. Hypocritical at best!

Matt Key said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Matt Key said...

on the positive side, this post has certainly pulled in a load of traffic to your blog, well played!! ;)

Anonymous said...

I have gained much respect for Mr. Creed over the past year that he has raced with Tom. I read where Mike left europe rather then dope. Pretty big deal right there when every riders dream is to race in Europe. I've watched how hard he works for his team mates in every single race and he's made me a believer. If he thinks Tom + wasn't done on purpose I believe him. Of course I'd believe Tom anyway because I know him.

Don H.

zencycle said...

Admitting to something that you knew was wrong/illegal before you did it under the promise of reduced punishment is hardly the stuff of heroes. A comment in concurrence, Tom.

whareagle said...

Actually, the years Tommy D was under Johan's influence were specifically years that Rick was NOT his coach. And Levi's been coached by Max Testa for an incredibly long time. You might want to have a chat with U of U and Heiden before you make that claim. That you don't have the balls to leave your own name speaks volumes about what you know for fact vs. innuendo.

Anonymous said...

So OK, how many fans think Wiggins and Fromme doped this year for/in the TDF? Ok, Ok hands down I can't count that many hands.

Anonymous said...

You are exactly right, Rick was not his coach when he was with Johan, Rick was actually his coach before Johan when Tom was in College racing bikes, rarely winning but then the very next year winning everything the U.S had to offer. From nobody Mt. biker to top U.S pro, almost litterally overnight. Which just happened to coincided with the years Levi was coached by Rick, which Levi just admitted to doping during. Hmmmm.... Strange. Fact. Oh and what does my name have to do with any of this?

Anonymous said...

Whareagle, You cant argue with me on this bud. I was there. Go ahead and do a little fact checking yourself before you comment back. Ok? thanks.

Anonymous said...

USADA, not only complicit but a master enabler for the biggest doping scam yet.

Anonymous said...

USADA, not only complicit but a master enabler for the biggest doping scam yet.

Anonymous said...

I just read that Garmin is keeping all of their dopers on thier team. Makes me wonder just how commited they are to being drug free?

Anonymous said...

Perhaps UCI needs a two yeae ban?

Anonymous said...

thanks for sharing.

Anonymous said...

Whareagle, anything to say for yourself now?