The Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) has selected the three people who will rule on Alberto Contador's clenbuterol case - and a verdict is likely before the start of this year's Tour de France in July.
Efraim Barak (Israel), Quentin Byrne-Sutton (Switzerland) and Professor Ulrich Haas (Germany) will study the evidence in the case after the sport's governing body, Union Cycliste Internationale (UCI), and the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) both lodged appeals subsequent to the Spanish Cycling Federation (RFEC) clearing Contador of charges relating to the positive.
If CAS rule in favour of UCI and WADA, Contador will likely face a two-year suspension back-dated to the positive test (July 21 2010) and have any race results achieved since then stripped from his palmares.
Contador tested positive for clenbuterol in a sample taken during the second rest day of the 2010 Tour de France in Pau. He went on to win the race overall. When news broke of the positive test in September, Contador blamed it on the consumption of tainted beef brought from Spain by a friend.
Contador was suspended from competition whilst RFEC studied the evidence. They subsequently cleared him in February 2011 and the Spaniard returned to racing, going on to win the Volta a Catalunya and Vuelta a Murcia stage races overall.
Contador is listed to ride the Giro d'Italia in May for his Saxo Bank-Sungard team.
The CAS statement, issued on Wednesday (April 27) read:
"The arbitral Panel in charge of the appeals of the International Cycling Union (UCI) and of the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) against the decision of the Spanish Cycling Federation (RFEC) concerning the case of Alberto Contador has been constituted as follows: Mr Efraim Barak (Israel), President, Mr Quentin Byrne-Sutton (Switzerland) and Prof. Ulrich Haas (Germany).
"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."
CAS to make Contador decision before Tour de FranceWADA appeals against Contador acquittal
UCI to appeal to CAS in Contador case
Contador now cleared of clenbuterol charges
Spanish media claims Contador could avoid ban
Contador could use 'Gasquet's Kiss' theory to back case
Contador says he will fight on despite provisional ban
UCI awaits final Spanish decision in Contador case
Contador tests positive for clenbuterol
Thank you for reading 20 articles this month* Join now for unlimited access
Enjoy your first month for just £1 / $1 / €1
*Read 5 free articles per month without a subscription
Join now for unlimited access
Try first month for just £1 / $1 / €1