Cyclingnews takes a look at the key events surrounding Alberto Contador's 'steakgate', which has both captivated and confused the cycling world for the last six months.
July 19: Contador takes yellow jersey from Andy Schleck following a mechanical on the road to Bagnères-de-Luchon.
July 20: Allegedly eats contaminated meat bought by Spanish cycling organiser, Jose Luis Lopez Cerron, a friend of the Astana team chef who had complained of poor quality meat at the hotel where the team was staying.
July 21: Allegedly eats contaminated meat again. Is drug tested on the second rest day, in Pau. His samples showed the presence of Clenbuterol at 50 picograms per millilitre.
July 22: Contador sets up overall victory by finishing in the same time as Schleck at the summit of the Col du Tourmalet.
July 25: Contador wins his third Tour de France crown, beating Schleck by 39 seconds.
August 3: He joins the Saxo Bank-SunGard team after leaving Astana.
August 24: Contador learns of the positive test
August 26: Meets with UCI. "On the 26th we talked at length about how all this had happened. The UCI itself told me to my face that it was a case of food contamination," Contador said. He said he has been in conversations with the UCI ever since "to handle this the most appropriate way possible and analyse it and see clearly that it is a case of food contamination in which I am the victim. Requests B sample.
September 8: B sample analysis complete, confirms traces of clenbuterol. According to the UCI "For additional safety, considering the very low concentration detected, the UCI continued scientific investigations in collaboration with WADA. In particular, it conducted a series of new analyses on all the blood and urine samples taken from the rider in the period in question."
September 30: Contador received provisional suspension by the International Cycling Union (UCI) after testing positive for a "very small concentration" of clenbuterol.
September 30: Contador speaks on Spanish radio: "You can put your hand in the fire and not get burned... If it had been a clear case of doping it would have come out that week. The food poisoning occurred due to a eating a steak that had come from Spain."
Contador speaks at a press conference in Spain, again claiming the fillet mignon he ate on July 20 and 21 was contaminated with clenbuterol. Some experts agreed with this explanation, using the small amount of the substance found in Contador's system as evidence. Clenbuterol is sometimes illegally given to livestock to add muscle to the animals.
September 30: Johan Bruyneel announces his support of Contador.
October 1: UCI President Pat McQuaid declines to comment about the Contador story, saying only that "the [testing] system works."
October 1: Contador tells Reuters that "the system is in doubt and should be changed." He also said he's "at rock bottom" because of the stress caused by the situation. In the same interview, he denies he ever received blood transfusions at the Tour de France.
October 2: Speaking at the UCI Road World Championships in Geelong, Australia, McQuaid says that Spain, which had four riders (including Contador) suspended for doping in the space of a month, needs to do more to stop doping. "I think there is a problem in Spain because a large percentage of our doping cases come from Spain."
October 3: In an interview with TV2 Sport, Contador says the UCI told him to keep his test results quiet after he was informed of the situation on Aug. 24.
October 6: Dr. Jordi Segura claims Contador's urine sample had an abnormal amount of plasticizer in it, which could be an indication that Contador underwent a blood transfusion.
October 7: Paco Olalla, the cook who prepared the steak which Contador claimed contained the Clenbuterol that caused his positive test at the Tour de France, says he has no doubt about the Spaniard's innocence of any doping offence.
October 8: Contador threatens to sue media outlets for defamation after what his press officer called "information published... due to their absolute lack of veracity."
October 14: The World Anti-Doping Agency rejects Contador's claims that his positive test was the result of contaminated meat.
October 23: Contador's mother, Paqui Velasco tells the Associated Press her son is thinking about quitting professional cycling regardless of whether or not he is found guilty of doping. "He says: 'I'm thinking about quitting cycling when all of this ends. It's not worth it,'"
November 8: The UCI asks the Spanish federation to open disciplinary proceedings against Contador for failing a drug test.
November 10: Contador hires an anti-doping lawyer.
November 17: According to a report in Spanish newspaper El País, WADA says that it has tested meat from the butcher's shop in Irún in northern Spain where Contador's steak was bought and found no traces of clenbuterol.
November 17: Contador's legal team hit back at WADA report
November 22: Spain's leading association of beef producers, the Asociación Española de Productores de Carne de Vacuno (ASOPROVAC), criticises Alberto Contador's claims that his positive test for Clenbuterol was caused by contaminated meat purchased in Spain and calls for a formal investigation to ascertain the facts in the case.
November 25: Contador again threatens to quit the sport.
November 26: Contador submits his official defence in the doping case, including new documentation he claims will show the positive test came from eating contaminated meat.
December 6: Contador attends first Saxo Bank-SunGard training camp in the Canary Islands.
January 26: The disciplinary commission of the RFEC recommends that Contador be suspended for one year
January 28: Contador holds press conference with Bjarne Riis saying he has "never doped" and will appeal the sanction. "I will do whatever is necessary to defend my innocence to the end," Contador said at the press conference. "The penalty is not fair."
February 8: Contador submits appeal to Royal Spanish Cycling Federation but says he will not retire if the case does not fall in his favour.
February 11: Spanish Prime Minister José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero tweets that "there is no judicial reason to sanction Alberto Contador".
February 15: Contador announces he has been "officially cleared by the Royal Spanish Cycling Federation and has been authorised to return to competition immediately." According to media reports the competitions committee of the Royal Spanish Cycling Federation (RFCE), Contador was exonerated on the basis that he could prove that he had inadvertently ingested a banned product through no fault or negligence on his part.
February 17: Contador describes the decision to clear him as "a great step forward for the sport".
February 19: French anti-doping expert and co-founder of the UCI-adopted biological passport states that Contador's samples should be re-analysed, suggesting the Spaniard is not out of the woods just yet.
February 25: Contador's legal team reveal the basis of their defence - the regulations for testing meat for contamination.
March 3: Contador vows to fight any appeal against RFCE's decision to clear him and says that Spain is "at the forefront of anti-doping".
March 5: UCI set deadline of March 24 for a decision on whether they will appeal against Contador's clearance by the RFEC.
March 15: RFCE declare that they are "sure that the UCI is going to challenge Contador's absolution".
March 24: UCI formally announces that it is to appeal to the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) over the dismissal of doping charges against Contador,
March 30: WADA announces its own separate appeal, also to CAS, against Contador's acquittal.
March 31: CAS says that it hopes to rule on the case by the end of June.
April 12: RFEC lawyer states that he expects CAS to clear Contador of all charges.
May 13: UCI's 'suspicious list', in which 2010 Tour de France riders were scored according the likelihood of them doping, is leaked to the press. Contador is given a score of five out of ten.
May 20: CAS state that Contador's case will be heard between 6 and 8 June - three weeks before the Tour de France.
May 26: CAS postpone Contador's hearing indefinitely, without giving an alternative date.
May 29: Under intense pressure and media scrutiny, Contador wins the 2011 Giro d'Italia.
May 31: CAS announce that Contador's hearing will now be set for 1-3 August, casting doubt on his participation in the Tour de France and also posing the question as to whether he will be able to keep his 2011 Giro title.
June 6: WADA director general advises Contador to skip the Tour de France.
June 7: David Millar tells the BBC that the authorities' treatment of Contador and the continuous delays are "farcical".
June 27: Belgian legend Eddy Merckx slams the WADA for delaying the Contador case.
June 30: Contador is roundly booed at the Tour de France team presentations.
July 24: Contador finishes in fifth place at the 2011 Tour de France.
August 15: Floyd Landis claims that one of Contador's former coaches "was a drug-trafficker".
August 27: Dates for the hearing are set for 21-24 November.
November 14: CAS insider states that Contador verdict might not be decided and revealed until January.
November 14: 13 of Contador's current or former team-mates announced as witnesses for his defence.
November 21: CAS hearing finally begins in Lausanne, Switzerland.
November 22: Saxo Bank holds its team camp in Israel
November 25: Contador gives a personal plea to the panel.
December 21: CAS begins writing its decision
January 7: RadioShack-Nissan owner Flavio Becca questions the independence of the panel due to Israel connection with Saxo Bank.
January 10: CAS denies prejudice in Contador case
January 11: WADA lawyers complain when anti-doping expert's testimony on transfusion theory for Clenbuterol positive is denied.
January 13: UCI and WADA condemn criticism of CAS
January 16: CAS blames decision delays on media
January 18: Contador confirmed to headline Tour de San Luis
January 30, 2012: Contador verdict delayed by CAS
February 1, 2012: Contador hoping to ride Mallorca opener
February 2, 2012: Contador says things have not been easy since 2004
February 5, 2012: Contador to line up in Mallorca
February 5, 2012: Contador flying home to await CAS verdict
February 6, 2012: CAS sanction Contador with two year ban in clenbuterol case
February 6, 2012: UCI confirms CAS decision to ban Contador
February 6, 2012: Contador: CAS to rule on 2.4 million Euro fine later
February 6, 2012: Pereiro furious over Contador's CAS ban
February 6, 2012: Spanish champions spring to Contador’s defence
February 6, 2012: Scarponi responds to Contador verdict
February 6, 2012: Andy Schleck reacts to Contador's doping ban
February 6, 2012: Giro d'Italia boss left upset over Contador ban
February 6, 2012: Zomegnan says stripping Contador's 2011 Giro title is nonsense
February 7, 2012: Video: Cancellara reacts to Contador's doping ban
February 7, 2012: New winners emerge from Contador's suspension
February 7, 2012: Analysis: CAS vs Alberto Contador
February 7, 2012: Prudhomme, Jalabert and Boyer on Contador's doping ban
February 7, 2012: Suspension could cost Contador millions
February 7, 2012: Evans: Contador suspension shows cycling in forefront of anti-doping
February 7, 2012: Merckx deplores "excessive" punishment in Contador ban
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As a sports journalist and producer since 1997, Jane has covered Olympic and Commonwealth Games, rugby league, motorsport, cricket, surfing, triathlon, rugby union, and golf for print, radio, television and online. However her enduring passion has been cycling.
Jane is a former Australian Editor of Cyclingnews from 2011 to 2013 and continues to freelance within the cycling industry.
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