By Gregor Brown
The Union Cycliste Internationale (UCI) will examine any evidence that exists to determine whether Alexandre Vinokourov bought his Liège-Bastogne-Liège win last year. It issued a response last night after L'Illustré magazine alleged that Vinokourov paid Alexandr Kolobnev €100,000 (£85,892) to lose the sprint.
The UCI said in a press release that it asked the Swiss magazine to provide "any evidence which would allow the facts to be clearly established. Once the situation has been evaluated the UCI will decide, in accordance with the UCI Rules, whether any measures need to be taken."
It added it would not make further comment on the case until its investigation is over.
The UCI's rule 1.2.081 says, "Riders shall sportingly defend their own chances. Any collusion or behaviour likely to falsify or go against the interests of the competition shall be forbidden."
L'Illustré published e-mails between the two in the days after the race. Kolobnev allegedly asked for the payment that he agreed upon with Vinokourov. Vinokourov responded and eventually paid, according to the magazine.
Kazakhstan's Vinokourov (team Astana) won the race for a second time. Russian Kolobnev (Katusha) finished second at six seconds and Belgian Philippe Gilbert (Omega Pharma-Lotto) third at 1-04 minutes.
Vinokourov said he may take legal action.
"It is a violation of my privacy, how can we explain that e-mail arrive as if by chance on the desktop of a journalist without knowledge of their origin?" he said in a press release yesterday. "My lawyers will also prosecute anyone who infringes on my integrity."
GreenEdge teams with Subaru and unveils women's team
Australia's first WorldTour team, GreenEdge announced on Thursday that it will use Subaru cars next season.
"This partnership is extremely valuable on several levels," said general manager, Shayne Bannan in a press release. "With Subaru, we have access to the perfect vehicles for all our different purposes and demanding tasks."
Subaru will also sponsor the national federation, Cycling Australia. The length of the agreement was not stated.
On Tuesday, GreenEdge unveiled its top-level women's team, which will race under the name GreenEdge-AIS. The squad will be run as a partnership between GreenEdge, Cycling Australia and the Australian Institute of Sport (AIS).
German time trial world champion Judith Arndt (pictured), Linda Villumsen, Claudia Häusler, Loes Gunnewijk, Tiffany Cromwell, Shara Gillow, Melissa Hoskins, Jessie Maclean and Amanda Spratt make up the nine-rider team.
Tour announces Corsican stages
The Tour de France announced on Tuesday the details of the three Corsican stages that will start the 100th edition in 2013.
"We wanted a novel, dramatic, aesthetic Grand Départ," race director, Christian Prudhomme told AFP, "with Corsica, we will have it all."
For the first time, the Grand Tour will race on the island: three stages from the eastern shores in Porto-Vecchio to the west in Calvi, June 29 to July 1.
Mark Cavendish of team Sky will have his chance on the first 200-kilometre leg to Bastia. If Cavendish takes the yellow jersey, it may only be for one day. The second leg will favour riders like Geraint Thomas or Philippe Gilbert, crossing the island to Ajaccio via the Col de Bellagranajo, the Col de la Serra and the Col de Vizzavona passes. The third and final leg will zigzag north up the west coast, above the World Heritage site Calanques de Piana.
Saturday 29th June: Porto-Vecchio - Bastia, 200 km
Sunday 30th June: Bastia - Ajaccio, 155 km
Monday 1st July: Ajaccio - Calvi, 145 km
The Tour de France will continue on the mainland on July 2 and likely finish in Paris on Tuesday.
Eddy Merckx to receive award from French President Sarkozy
French President Nicolas Sarkozy will honour Eddy Merckx with the highest possible Legion of Honour at the Élysée Palace next week.
The Belgian won every Grand Tour and almost every significant one-day classic, including all five monuments; Milan-San Remo, the Tour of Flanders, Paris-Roubaix, Liège-Bastogne-Liège and the Tour of Lombardy. He is considered the greatest cyclist of all time.
At the start of the 1975 Tour de France, he was made Chevalier of the Legion of Honour. On December 15, Sarkozy will promote the 66-year-old from Chevalier (Knight) to Commandeur.
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