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Cheatergate: a VDS Ruling, At Least

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OK, yesterday people were anxious to know what will happen to Alberto Contador's and Zeke Mosquera's VDS points as we approach the end of the season. Well, rules are rules, and believe it or not, we have a rule:

First, the doping policy. For practical reasons (per tedvdw), we will exclude any rider who has had a positive B sample from collecting any VDS points after that B sample has occurred is announced. This will undoubtedly touch off debate -- "how can you leave his earlier points in place?" -- but in reality the only perfect result is an adjudicated confession, and in the real world we are almost always left holding a big ol sack of ambiguity. So we split the baby, cutting off the points after the B sample unless they happen in a stage race that isn't over yet, and don't melt down our new app trying to undo old results.

What this means: 

  1. Contador et al can no longer score points once we have a positive B sample, except in the case of an ongoing stage race, which was the case for both Contador and Mosquera, which means they keep their points thru the end of the Tour and Vuelta, respectively.
  2. If we get anything like a ruling on their cases which finds them in violation, in time for our VDS results, then we will act and remove their points from the Tour and Vuelta, respectively. This part isn't clearly addressed in the blockquote above, which I think some have interpreted to mean they keep their points permanently. No; they just keep them until we have a more official step to react to. See rationale below.
  3. We will wait until 9 days after the Giro di Lombardia -- a week, plus that second weekend. Then we will close the competition.

If I remember the rule's origins correctly (a big if), the point was that people aren't guilty until at least a smidgen of due process. Here, a positive A and B sample is the equivalent of the prosecution getting up to present its case. The defense hasn't had a turn yet, and so we must wait. This was the rule for 2010... but it needn't be the rule for all time. I will always prefer due process, but in our case we're looking at a situation where the likelihood of unfairness is large. Cases almost never get adjudicated in the same VDS window as when they arose, which means ill-begotten points won't get expunged in time. And given the history of sham defenses and rampant doping, maybe our game -- it's just a game -- is better served by quicker action. Let's not revisit that today, but when we start to devise the 2011 game we will bring this up.

Lastly, Valverde's case seems out of order, but it really isn't. It was simply a rare case of us actually getting an adjudicated decision in the same VDS year as some of his results. The UCI suspended him in May and erased all his 2010 results. So we did too. If we got something quickly from the Spanish federation on Contador and Mosquera (I died a bit inside writing that), we would follow it.

Thanks for people's patience here. This isn't as much fun as, well, almost every other subject we can think of.