American Tom Zirbel faces up to a two-year suspension after laboratory analysis of a B sample confirmed an earlier positive for DHEA.
Zirbel tested positive at the U.S. national championships, where he finished second in the individual time trial. Zirbel went on to finish an impressive fourth in the UCI world time trial championships. Both results are likely to be negated if Zirbel is found to have committed a doping violation.
Zirbel’s B sample was tested at the Sports Medicine Research and Testing Laboratory at the University of Utah in December, but results were not released until this week.
Zirbel had signed a contract with the Garmin-Transitions team for the 2010 season, but he was suspended following the result of his A sample result.
“Tom has been up front with me about this process from the beginning,” team CEO Jonathan Vaughters said in December. “However, our anti-doping policy is zero tolerance. Tom alerted us to the situation and as a result he will not be riding for us in 2010. I hope that USADA comes to the proper and fair solution in this, and every anti – doping case. ”
Zirbel has maintained his innocence and has enlisted the help of sports doctor Max Testa and chemist Andy Phillips to review the case.
“The more familiar you are with DHEA and other illegal drugs, you know that DHEA is not something that anyone with half a brain would take, getting tested as much as I do,” Zirbel told VeloNews in December.
Zirbel faces disciplinary action from the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency and could face a two-year suspension. However, recent revisions to the World Anti-Doping Code do allow a review panel to consider mitigating circumstances – including unintentional ingestion of tainted food supplements – when determining an appropriate suspension.