Alberto Contador’s Clenbuterol case may not be resolved before the Tour de France, after the Court of Arbitration for Sport announced that it has postponed its hearing into the matter, which had been fixed for June 6, 7 and 8. It appears that Contador's legal team had sought an extension of a CAS deadline for the delivery of defence documentation.
"Following the agreement between the Appellants and the Respondents, the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) has accepted to postpone the hearing in this matter in order to give to all parties concerned reasonable time to prepare for such hearing and to guarantee the participation in person of witnesses and experts," read a CAS statement on Thursday afternoon. "Accordingly, the CAS Panel has decided to cancel the hearing initially scheduled for 6-7-8 June 2011."
Citing the Spanish Cycling Federation’s legal advisor Luis Sanz, AS reported that the CAS hearing on the matter will not now take place before mid-July and could even be delayed until September.
While the CAS statement says that "new hearing dates will be fixed as soon as possible," reports from Spain had suggested that the revised date for the hearing is to be announced on Monday.
The UCI and WADA have appealed the Spanish Federation’s decision not to sanction Contador for his positive test for Clenbuterol at last year’s Tour, and last week CAS had announced that it would hold its hearings from June 6-8.
“There won’t be a hearing from the 6th to the 8th. Alberto's lawyers and CAS will talk next week to decide a new date. It’s a very complex case,” Contador’s spokesperson told Cyclingnews.
“The Tour de France was always on his programme. Even if it makes life more complicated”.
Friday May 27 had been the deadline for Contador’s legal team to deliver his defence documentation to CAS, but it is understood that this deadline was extended after a video conference with the head of the CAS jury, Efraim Barak.
Contador’s defence is based around the claim that he consumed a contaminated steak prior to returning the positive test.
When contacted by Cyclingnews, the UCI declined to comment on the possibility of a delay in the resolution of the case.
Tour de France general director Christian Prudhomme has previously stated that he wanted a verdict in the Contador case before the start of the Tour, and it is not known what action, if any, ASO will take if the matter remains unresolved come July.