By Jonny Long
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".
"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."
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.
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