11 Jan 2011

Contador verdict pushed back

8:53 am on 11 January 2011

A verdict on three-times Tour de France winner Alberto Contador's positive dope test is set to be pushed back to late January, which would rule him out of the first major cycle race of the season in Australia.

The governing International Cycling Union said in a statement that the Spanish Federation responsible for the case had sought the advice of its legal and anti-doping departments.

The new deadline for the UCI to give the Spanish authorities their opinion is January 24th, with further time extensions possible.

The Tour Down Under starts on January 18th.

Three-times Tour winner Contador, one of only five men with victories in all three grand tours (France, Italy and Spain), has been provisionally suspended since last August and faces a potential ban of up to two years.

The Spaniard has repeatedly protested his innocence, blaming contaminated meat for the traces of the banned stimulant clenbuterol found in his urine sample during last year's Tour de France which he went on to win.

The 28-year-old has also threatened to quit cycling if he was suspended.

The case is widely expected to go to the Court of Arbitration for Sport after the Spanish Federation publishes its initial verdict.