Race fixing allegations dog Vinokourov as Padua investigations deepen

Alexandre Vinokourov, race fixing,  Liege-Bastogne-Liege, Padua
Alexander Vinokourov (L) shakes hands with Alexander Kolobnev (R) at the end of the 2010 Liege-Bastogne-Liege (Getty)

Emails and details of bank transfers that allegedly demonstrate how London 2012 Olympic Games road race champion Alexandre Vinokourov paid off breakaway companion Alexandr Kolobnev to win the 2010 Liege-Bastogne-Liege have been published by Italian newspaper, Corriere della Sera.

Details of the alleged sports fraud have been forwarded to Belgian authorities and the International Cycling Union (UCI), according to the report.

The allegations first surfaced in December of 2011 when Swiss magazine l’Illustre accused Vinokourov of buying the race.

The UCI said at the time it would seek information from the magazine after learning of the incident.

Questioned by l’Illustre about the allegations Vinokourov said it was a conspiracy, that he had done nothing wrong and said he would clear his name.

Having obtained access to legal documents from prosecutors in Padua investigating doping, Corriere della Sera reported that Vinokourov allegedly paid Kolobnev E150,000 ($A188,000) to win the prestigious single-day race.

Corriere printed alleged emails in Cyrillic from the pair where they exchange banking information, adding that Swiss authorities provided details of the bank transfers.

The victory was Vinokourov's biggest after returning from a two-year suspension for blood doping at the 2007 Tour de France. He won the race with a long sprint to the line, finishing six seconds ahead of Kolobnev.

The first email was sent April 26, the day after the race, from Kolobnev to Vinokourov.

Kolobnev allegedly wrote, "Remember well, I had a great chance. ... I didn't do it for the contract but rather for the situation you found yourself in ... If it had been someone else in your place I would have raced for the win, for the glory and the bonuses. ... Now I'm waiting patiently. Take my transfer information and put them somewhere else and erase the email."

Vinokourov responded 12 days later.

"Don't worry, you did everything right. ... As far as the agreement goes, don't worry, I'll take care of everything."

After intercepting the emails, Italian investigators sought help from Swiss authorities, who proved that the account listed was Kolobnev's and that it was undersigned by a BSI (Swiss) bank worker named Edoardo Coceprio, who is also under investigation by Padua authorities for money laundering involving a widespread doping system operated by Lance Armstrong's former physician, Michele Ferrari.

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