The medical hearing for former Team Sky and British Cycling doctor Richard Freeman is in danger of descending into farce amid concerns that delays could prevent UK Anti-Doping from acting on any new evidence.
The Medical Practitioners Tribunal Service hearing was due to start last week, having been allocated 20 days in Manchester from February 6.
But an initial application for a 48-hour adjournment by Freeman's legal team has been followed by further preliminary legal application that the MPTS now expect to continue for the remainder of this week.
That means it could be day nine before the tribunal that centres on an allegation that Freeman ordered the banned drug Testosterone for an athlete in May 2011 formally begins, making it most unlikely that a conclusion will be reached by March 5.
If the tribunal is only part-heard, it would then be a case of reconvening and that becomes difficult logistically with lawyers, as well as witnesses, potentially booked up later in the year. Indeed there are concerns that the hearing may not be concluded this side of Christmas.
Any date beyond May this year would be a potential problem, not least for UKAD when the statute of limitations for an alleged doping offence in May 2011 was eight years.
That said, UKAD do not have to wait for the conclusion of the Freeman tribunal before launching an investigation into the delivery of Testogel sachets to the National Cycling centre that is home to both Team Sky and the British Cycling team.
Any new evidence presented during the tribunal over the next three weeks could be enough to trigger a new UKAD investigation, while anti-doping chiefs could perhaps justify such a move based purely on the explosive General Medical Council allegations that were listed by the MPTS last month.
Such delays at an MPTS tribunal can be caused if a doctor is not considered well enough to appear and a statement from the MPTS on Monday said: 'The tribunal hearing Dr Freeman's case will continue to consider a preliminary legal application in private throughout the course of this week. We don't expect a decision on the application before Friday, but will update you again towards the end of the week.'