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Tom Zirbel tests positive for DHEA

Fourth place finisher in World Champs Time Trial sees contract offer withdrawn by Garmin-Transitions

Tom Zirbel, the American time trial specialist who finished a surprise fourth behind Fabian Cancellara in the discipline at this year’s UCI World Championships in Mendrisio, Switzerland, has announced that he has tested positive for the banned steroid, DHEA.

The positive test relates to a urine sample taken at the end of August at the US National Championships, where Zirbel finished second to David Zabriskie. Three days after that race, it was announced that the 31-year-old Zirbel, under contract with the US-based Bissell Pro Cycling team until 31 December, would be joining Zabriskie at Garmin-Transitions for the 2010 season.

However, Zirbel’s name did not feature in the roster announced by Garmin-Transitions last week, and it is understood that the team last week withdrew its contract offer after the rider disclosed his positive test last month.

Zirbel, who claimed in a statement that he would never knowingly ingest a banned substance, is now awaiting the result of his B sample from the US Anti-Doping Authority, and it has been reported that if that too turns out to be positive, he may consider retirement.

As Zirbel, who won the 2009 National Race Calendar series, says on his personal website, “I have a pretty cool job so I spend most of my time trying to keep it.” As things stand, that decision may no longer be his to make.

Simon joined as news editor in 2009 and is now the site’s community editor, acting as a link between the team producing the content and our readers. A law and languages graduate, published translator and former retail analyst, he has reported on issues as diverse as cycling-related court cases, anti-doping investigations, the latest developments in the bike industry and the sport’s biggest races. Now back in London full-time after 15 years living in Oxford and Cambridge, he loves cycling along the Thames but misses having his former riding buddy, Elodie the miniature schnauzer, in the basket in front of him.

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