Did Vinokourov pay off his rival?

Alexander Vinokourav might have retired from professional cycling, but there are a few controversies surrounding him that refuse to die down.

During the ending months of last year, the Olympic gold medallist was accused of paying off a rival in order to secure the pole position in the one day classic race which was held in Belgium in the year 2010. The accusation was brought forth by an Italian daily.

Italian newspaper Corriere della Sera had reported that Vinokourav had made a payment of $120,000 to Russian rider Alexandr Kolobhev and asked him to ease off during the last sprint at the Liege-Bastonge-Liege Classic, 2010. To support its claim, the newspaper had published emails that prove that the race was fixed and Vinokourav and Kolobhev had exchanged bank details between themselves. The newspaper had also claimed that the Swiss authorities had provided the details of the bank transfer.

Vinokourav’s win in the 2010 race was first after serving a two year ban for blood doping during the 2007 edition of the Tour de France. During the race, he had finished six seconds ahead of Kolobhev. The details of this alleged fixing were handed over to the International Cycling Union (UCI) and the authorities in Belgium.

According to the reports, the first email was sent on the 26th of April, 2010, one day after the race from Kolobhev to Vinokourav. In the mail Kolobhev said that though he had a great chance, he did not do it (win the race) not for the contract but for the position which Vinokourav was in. He said that he was waiting patiently and also gave Vinokourav his transfer details and asked him to delete the mail.

Vinokourav has responded to this mail 12 days later and said to Kolobhev that he had done everything right. Vinokourav also wrote that he will take care of everything.