The long-running Alberto Contador clenbuterol case likely won’t see final resolution until early 2012.
That’s according to an official from the Court of Arbitration for Sport, who told The Associated Press that the three-member appeal board will need “six to eight weeks” to publish a ruling.
“It is a normal period of time for a case of this complexity,” CAS secretary general Matthieu Reeb told the AP.
Contador’s case — dating back to the 2010 Tour de France when he tested positive for traces of clenbuterol — is set to begin next week in the Lausanne offices of CAS.
Contador, who has been on his honeymoon, said he will be attending the four-day hearing. The process is closed to the public and media.
Contador’s lawyers will argue that the traces of clenbuterol entered the Spanish rider’s body after he ate steaks brought to France from Spain.
Both the UCI and WADA appealed a February decision by the Spanish cycling federation to clear Contador. That opened the door for his return to competition and Contador went on to win the Murcia and Catalunya tours before winning the Giro d’Italia in May.
Hearings set for June and then August were delayed after agreements between lawyers in all parties.
Contador could lose his 2010 Tour title and face a ban up to two years if the panel rules against him.
The Associated Press also reported that there is no request to fast-track a decision in the case.
“There is no such request,” Reeb told The Associated Press. “There is no particular need for speed.”