Tour de France - New delay in Contador verdict
A verdict on three-times Tour de France winner Alberto Contador's positive dope test is set to be pushed back to late January, which would rule him out of the first major race of the season in Australia.
The governing UCI said in a statement that the Spanish Federation responsible for the case had sought the advice of its legal and anti-doping departments.
The new deadline for the UCI to give the Spanish authorities their opinion is January 24, with further time extensions possible.
The Tour Down Under starts on January 18.
Three-times Tour winner Contador, one of only five men with victories in all three grand tours (France, Italy and Spain), has been provisionally suspended since last August and faces a potential ban of up to two years.
The Spaniard has repeatedly protested his innocence, blaming contaminated meat for the traces of the banned stimulant clenbuterol found in his urine sample during last year's Tour de France which he went on to win.
The 28-year-old has also threatened to quit cycling if he was suspended.
Spanish Federation President Juan Carlos Castano said: "It's absolutely vital that we draw in and use all the expert opinions we can.
"We always want to be 100 per cent sure our verdict is the right one.
"Our disciplinary commission is made up of lawyers, they're not medical experts."
The case is widely expected to go to the Court of Arbitration for Sport CAS after the RFEC publishes its initial verdict.