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CAS names panel for Contador appeal and says decision expected before Tour de France

Hearing due to be held in June with decision made before end of that month

The Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) has announced the composition of the three-man panel that will hear the appeals of the UCI and World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) against Alberto Contador’s acquittal by the Spanish national federation, the RFEC, of charges brought against him following his positive test for clenbuterol at last year’s Tour de France. In news that will be welcomed by Tour organisers ASO, CAS also revealed that it plans making a decision by the end of June, and therefore shortly before this year’s race starts on Saturday 2nd July.

The three men appointed to the panel are the Israeli, Efraim Barak, who will act as president, Quentin Byrne-Sutton of Switzerland, and Professor Ulrich Haas from Germany. While the president is selected by CAS, the other two members are each appointed by the parties to the case in question.

Contador’s defence team has chosen Professor Haas, who teaches at the University of Zurich, and who according to Associated Press has experience of cases involving clenbuterol and last year sat on the panel that banned Alejandro Valverde for two years.

Byrne-Sutton, a partner in the Geneva-based law firm Byrne-Sutton Bollen Kern, also has wide experience of serving as an arbitrator in cases brought before CAS and has been jointly appointed by the UCI and WADA, each of which will be entitled to present separate evidence before the panel.

According to CAS, “The written proceedings in this matter are likely to be concluded at the end of May and the CAS envisages to hold a hearing in June 2011, which would allow the settlement of the dispute before the end of June 2011. The hearing date will be published once it has been fixed.”

The cyclist, now with Saxo Bank-SunGard but riding for Astana in last year’s Tour, has always insisted that his positive test was due to his having eaten a contaminated steak.

In February, the RFEC surprised the cycling world by exonerating the cyclist of charges of doping just a week after it had been reported that the federation planned to give him a one-year ban. At the time, concerns were raised that the RFEC had been subject to undue influence from politicians including the Spanish prime minister.

Should the panel rule in favour of the UCI and WADA, it is expected that Contador will lose the Tour de France title he won last year, his third overall victory in the race, and that he will also forfeit the wins and prize money he has picked up since returning to racing in February.

The Spaniard, who next week leads Saxo Bank-SunGard in the Giro d’Italia, would become only the second man after Floyd Landis to be stripped of the Tour de France title after standing on the Champs-Elysees podium in the maillor jaune.

Simon joined as news editor in 2009 and is now the site’s community editor, acting as a link between the team producing the content and our readers. A law and languages graduate, published translator and former retail analyst, he has reported on issues as diverse as cycling-related court cases, anti-doping investigations, the latest developments in the bike industry and the sport’s biggest races. Now back in London full-time after 15 years living in Oxford and Cambridge, he loves cycling along the Thames but misses having his former riding buddy, Elodie the miniature schnauzer, in the basket in front of him.

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