Alberto Contador's case will not be decided before the middle of January 2011, according to Juan Carlos Castaño, president of the Spanish Cycling Federation (RFEC).
Speaking to Spanish newspaper ‘AS', Castaño said he was not expecting the RFEC disciplinary commission which is currently studying Contador's case to reach a verdict at any time before that.
Technically the time limit for a national cycling federation to reach a decision in anti-doping cases is 30 working days after it receives official notification from the UCI that a disciplinary hearing against one of their riders has to be opened. And in Contador's case the hearing was formally begun in the RFEC offices in Madrid in early November.
However, that time limit is often broken - as was the case with Floyd Landis which went on for over a year.
Even if it does not take so long to reach a final verdict, like Landis case a definitive verdict over Contador is widely expected to be taken by CAS, meaning yet further delays to its resolution.
"We have to proceed carefully if we want to produce a credible verdict," Castaño told AS.
" I'm not expecting anything before the middle of January."
"In any case, I'm pretty sure this will end up in CAS, because not everybody's going to be satisfied. It's not an easy case and requires a lot of detailed study."
Castaño was also asked for his opinion about a massive anti-doping investigation, Operacion Galgo, that is currently taking place in Spanish athletics. Operacion Puerto doctor Eufemiano Fuentes is once again under suspicion as a result of Galgo, with a previously unidentified blood bag from Puerto believed to be a key piece of evidence that inspired the new investigation - although this time, so far, cyclists have not been implicated.
"This just goes to show that Operacion Puerto was not completed correctly," Castaño pointed out.
"Firstly because ever since 2006 we've been waiting to get access to the evidence so we can open disciplinary hearings."
"Secondly, it was always said that there were other sports involved, not just cyclists. At least, now, we're seeing that all the effort put into Puerto is paying off."
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