No not in SLC. Today I got word from attorney Jared that USADA is dropping my case.
I must warn you that this is a long post for me and at times may not make a lot of sense. I have not had time to sort through my thoughts and feelings but can not resist sharing the good news with all my friends and supporters. Read on!
What are you kidding me? How did this happen? Last thing I knew, we rejected the one year deal that was offered and decided to pursue arbitration. Now Jared tells me everything is being dropped, no arbitration, nothing.
I don't know all the details but from what I understand USADA was not comfortable sanctioning another rider that they knew was not a suspected cheat and took things up with the UCI. After the UCI investigated things they came to the conclusion that internationally riders are not treated equally for a missed test. Meaning some riders are given a 2 year suspension and others (in europe) are not even prosecuted. So long story short the sanctioning rules for missed tests seem to be changing and USADA has been given the freedom to do with my case what they have wanted to do all along, drop it!
I know USADA has received a lot of bad press and surely will receive more for changing their stand on this issue but I must give them credit for seeing the injustice in the current sanctioning procedures and attempting to make changes. I am not sure where this leaves Redpath, Sager, and Pennington but I would suspect their cases may be looked at again and I would hope they will be treated fairly and given time served.
This whole process has not only been a huge inconvenience but more importantly has questioned me as a rider and a person. For those that know me it is not an issue, but my name has been associated with a doping violation and for those that don't know me they have no choice but question me, they don't know the details and I don't blame them. I am now happy to say it is over and hope no one has any lingering doubts about me purposefully missing the test. I am, have been, and always will be performance enhancer free, period. I support doping control and hope that the process and the system can fix itself from within so we no longer have to doubt the sport we love.
In the end I think a lot of good may have come from this process. 1) I have become good friends with attorney Jared. 2) Hopefully riders are more aware of the inconsistencies in the doping control procedures and will take a proactive approach to peeing in a cup. 3) Cases like mine reveal holes in the system, hopefully are leading to change. 4) I found I don't need a UCI license to validate myself as a professional athlete, to quote myself "train for life, not races".
I have to give a huge thanks to my main man Jared Inouye and his law firm Bennett-Tueller-Johnson-Deere
for supporting me throughout my case. They represented me for the sake of justice and justice alone. No monetary compensation for hours and hours of work in my behalf. I would be an innocent rider serving a suspension right now if Jared had not had the determination and resolve to see my case to the end. If you are ever find yourself in a situation where you need an attorney don't hesitate to call Jared or his firm. Maybe floyd should give them a call!
So now what? Despite the heroic efforts of Jared, I have been anticipating a suspension because of USADA's arbitration history (they have never lost). So I have been planning a season full of non-sanctioned events including the IC, maybe some of the crazy Russian's races like the E100 ultra, and other cool events. Now I am given the green light to do what I want and I am confused. I don't know if I want to race the NORBA's anymore. Maybe I will just race locally, maybe I will dive in to the endurance stuff, will just have to see.
I do know that for some reason after hearing the news today I am more excited about riding my bike, this also maybe because I have 2 new cannondales sitting in my shop and it has not snowed in weeks.
Either way I going to start getting fast.
A huge thanks to everyone that has supported me, I am a cyclist as much for the people and relationships as for the health and competetion and know it would not be the same without you.