AP sources: Protest mars Contador case at CAS

By JOHN LEICESTER | January 11, 2012 | 5:37 AM EST

PARIS (AP) — Lawyers working to prove that Alberto Contador doped at the 2010 Tour de France came "very close" to walking out in protest at his hearing before the Court of Arbitration for Sport, The Associated Press has learned.

The attorneys are upset over the silencing of testimony and the conduct of judges, including one with connections to Contador's home country, Spain, according to people directly involved in the case.

They spoke on condition of anonymity, concerned that disclosing events from the closed-door proceedings in November could annoy the arbitrators and perhaps sway their deliberations.

The revelations come as sport's highest legal body prepares to rule whether the three-time Tour winner should be banned for testing positive for the performance-enhancer clenbuterol or whether Spanish authorities were right to clear him.

Contador says the clenbuterol came from beef he ate while on the Tour.