Fourth place finisher in World Champs Time Trial sees contract offer withdrawn by Garmin-Transitions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

Born in Scotland, Simon moved to London aged seven and now lives in the Oxfordshire Cotswolds with his miniature schnauzer, Elodie. He fell in love with cycling one Saturday morning in 1994 while living in Italy when Milan-San Remo went past his front door. A daily cycle commuter in London back before riding to work started to boom, he's been news editor at road.cc since 2009. Handily for work, he speaks French and Italian. He doesn't get to ride his Colnago as often as he'd like, and freely admits he's much more adept at cooking than fettling with bikes.