The news of Tom Zirbel's positive test for DHEA was a shock to many, even those of us at Pappillon with a more cynical view of the sport (hardened by experience). But, with only an "A"-sample result and no B, let alone an arbitration hearing, there still exists the possibility that Zirbel will prove his innocence.
No one enjoys watching the unmasking of their heroes as sporting frauds, and many will continue to believe in a doper's innocence long after circumstantial evidence says otherwise, but before the final verdict is delivered (be it by USADA or CAS). One of our contributors had this to say on the matter:
"[Innocent-because-he-is-nice fan says:] 'I just don't believe that a //BLANK// would cheat...it can't be true...!'
Please insert the following for //BLANK//, as you see fit:
- Nice Guy
- Amish dude
- Cancer Survivor
- Well-educated person
- Guy who swore he was clean to Congress
- Mother of two
- Person who went on Oprah
- Hero to millions
- etc. etc. etc.
I've heard it all, man. You can't believe anyone anymore."
Now if that's not cynical, we don't know what is! In the spirit of "we've heard it all before," Pappillon will soon run a series of old articles on doping from the 1980's to highlight an era of our sport's history in this country that many - unfortunately - would rather soon forget. We're not embarking upon this to air dirty laundry, but rather, to remind the US cycling scene that nice guys do dope - even when they're wearing the stars-and-stripes, and hell, even if what they did technically wasn't doping at the time.