Alberto Contador hearing delayed


LAUSANNE, Switzerland -- The Court of Arbitration for Sport postponed its hearing in Alberto Contador's doping case on Thursday, meaning the cyclist could compete in the Tour de France before the court issues a ruling.

The CAS postponed the June 6-8 hearing, and the case could drag on beyond the start of this year's Tour.

CAS said it agreed to put off the hearing to give "all parties concerned reasonable time to prepare for such hearing and to guarantee the participation in person of witnesses and experts."

CAS said new hearing dates will be set as soon as possible.

"We are not ready yet with replacement dates," the court said in a statement.

CAS did not specify who sought the postponement.

The court is scheduled to hear appeals filed by the International Cycling Union and World Anti-Doping Agency. They are challenging the Spanish cycling federation's decision to clear the three-time Tour de France champion after he blamed his positive test for clenbuterol at last year's race on eating contaminated beef.

CAS had previously said it aimed to issue a verdict by the end of June, which would allow Contador to defend his Tour title if exonerated. The Tour runs July 2 to July 24.

If CAS rules against Contador, he faces a ban of up to two years and would be stripped of his third Tour victory.

Contador can compete until the verdict. He's currently the overall leader at the Giro d'Italia.

"All I'm thinking about right now is winning the (leader's) pink jersey," Contador said Thursday after the 18th stage of the Giro. "I'm not thinking of anything else. I think we will have a strong team (for the Tour) that will be capable of doing great things."