Alexander Vinokourov has spoken out after being acquitted of fixing the 2010 edition of Liège-Bastogne-Liège, where he took his second victory at the oldest Monument.
Following the end of his trial, Vinokourov celebrated his victory, releasing a statement that claimed those who had brought the allegations against him were trying to “stain his name”.
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“I am very happy that the judges finally made the only fair decision and this story could be finished,” Vinokourov said. “It’s my private life. It’s another story to stain my name. I often lend money.”
The Astana team boss was cleared alongside fellow rider Alexandr Kolobnev, with the case revolving around accusations that Vinokourov had paid Kolobnev €150,000 to let him win the race by not contesting the two-up sprint in the final of the 2010 edition of Liège.
The two men had been facing a sentencing of up to six months in jail by the Belgian court, with the prosecutor having also called for Vinokourov to be fined €100,000 and Kolobnev €50,000.
During his career, Vinokourov was banned for two years after testing positive for blood doping at the 2007 Tour de France, a year after he claimed the 2006 Vuelta a España. He then announced his retirement after collecting the gold medal at the 2012 Olympic road race in London, later returning to his Astana team as general manager.
The Kazakh team had a successful 2019 season, with Jakob Fuglsang winning Liège-Bastogne-Liège and the Critérium du Dauphiné. The team also took three stage victories at the Giro d’Italia and two at the Vuelta a España.
Putting the court case behind him and looking toward the 2020 season, Vinokourov said: “We are looking forward to more successes and triumphs. We have done our best season this year, but we still have a lot of work and goals. It will continue.”