Alexander Vinokourov says Liège race fixing allegations were 'to stain my name'

The Astana team boss was cleared of fixing the 2010 Liège-Bastogne-Liège last week

LE GRAND-BORNAND, FRANCE - JULY 17: Alexander Vinokourov (Photo by Tim de Waele/Getty Images)
(Image credit: Getty Images)

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."

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Hi. I'm Cycling Weekly's Weekend Editor. I like writing offbeat features and eating too much bread when working out on the road at bike races.

Before joining Cycling Weekly I worked at The Tab and I've also written for Vice, Time Out, and worked freelance for The Telegraph (I know, but I needed the money at the time so let me live).

I also worked for ITV Cycling between 2011-2018 on their Tour de France and Vuelta a España coverage. Sometimes I'd be helping the producers make the programme and other times I'd be getting the lunches. Just in case you were wondering - Phil Liggett and Paul Sherwen had the same ham sandwich every day, it was great.