Saturday, August 05, 2006

Cycling, dope, and a modest proposal

I watched the recent Tour de France avidly, and this most recent testosterone scandal fills me with much dismay. Not just because of the cheating aspect, but because of the unsettled nature of the outcome of the race -- who's the "real" winner when all is said and done, with some of the competitors on artificial supplementation and others (I presume) not?

My proposal is a sort of analytic continuation between the dopers and the non-dopers so that they can be included on a single scale.

Here's how it would work: At each stage, the official time for each racer would be modified by an penalty corresponding to the amount of the prohibited substance detected in a sample taken immediately before the start. A "clean" racer would have no time added, one with a slightly elevated amount would have a moderate amount added (a few seconds, maybe), while one with a high amount would have one or more minutes added to his time. The GC leader would be determined by adding these modified times.

A similar modifier could be used for the points scoring as well, to determine the sprint and king of the mountains titles.

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