This week the Court for Arbitration in sports announced that it would hear the Alberto Contador doping case on November 21st through the 24th.
Today, they took the unusual step of setting the dates for the postponement of the verdict in the high profile case.
“We have laid out what we think is a reasonable timetable,” said UCI spokesman Philippe Lentement. “The first postponement will move the verdict to December 13th through 15th. Then, because of the complexity of the case, we have already planned a second delay, pushing the verdict until the second week of January, after the holidays.”
Neither Contador’s legal team or officials from the UCI or WADA would comment on the postponements of the verdict in a case that has dragged on for over a year.
The hearings will be held at CAS’s headquarters in Lausanne, Switzerland. The UCI and WADA are appealing the Spanish cycling federation’s decision to issue no sanctions on Contador for a doping positive from the 2010 Tour de France. Contador insists the positive for clenbuterol was caused by contaminated meat.
The meat is apparently one of the factors in the postponement dates. “They have finally found the rest of the steak in question,” said Lentement. “It’s like the dried blood bags from Puerto — we just need some extra time to deal with that. There is just a little morsel left and that takes time to deal with.”
The prospect of no verdict until January 2012 is a disappointment for many in professional cycling but CAS is not prepared to alter the new timetable. “He’s just a Spanish bike racer to us, nothing more, nothing less. It’s not a reason to ruin the Winter holidays,” said Lentement. “The jurors have no wish to complicate the Christmas shopping or change any vacation plans.”
However, the spokesman did not rule out further postponements. “We have a sense of drama and irony. It is not just legal this, legal that 24/7. Sometimes it’s just fun to yank people’s chains — especially that Pat McQuaid,” said Lentement.