Now that the biggest emotions have died down a bit on “the List”, what about it?
I actually agree with the existence of such a list, in the sense that it would be ludicrous to test every rider the same. Of course you would focus your scarce resources (remember that doping tests are expensive, the biological passport costs millions per year) on athletes you suspect may be doing something untoward. If someone is robbed in London, you don’t expect the police to investigate each of its 10 million inhabitants with equal vigor either.
The problem with the list is three-fold. First off, if you make such a list, it has to be based on hard facts, not innuendo and circumstance. Apparently riders “who perform better than expected” were put high on the list, not a very sound scientific consideration. So when some fans then read the list as “higher number, more suspicious”, these riders have good reason to be upset.
Secondly, if you make such a list, it can’t leak. I don’t care how difficult it is nowadays to keep things contained, I don’t care that even the US Defense department can’t keep its data secure, you simply cannot have such a document leak…. UNLESS….., and this may be the solution going forward, you flip the whole thing around. You open up the whole process to scrutiny, you explain how the list is established, you inform the world of how the list is evolving. Figure out a way to do that while respecting the riders’ rights, and the Nobel Peace Prize for Cycling is yours.
Thirdly, when you make a list aimed to clarify which riders need targeting, target those riders! It appears there are riders at or near the top of that list who were barely tested at the Tour de France. What use is such a list and the risk of leaks if it isn’t being used anyway?