Vinokourov to begin legal action over Liège-Bastogne-Liège allegations
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Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Vinokourov to begin legal action over Liège-Bastogne-Liège allegations

by Shane Stokes at 6:37 AM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling
Will sue magazine which made claims, others may also be prosecuted

Alexandre VinokourovFollowing claims made in the Swiss magazine l’Illustre and repeated since by other media, Alexandre Vinokourov has confirmed that he will begin legal action against the magazine.

The Astana leader refutes suggestions that his 2010 Liège-Bastogne-Liège victory was the result of a financial arrangement with breakaway companion Alexandr Kolobnev, and suggests that there could be a political motivation.

“I can’t accept that gossiping about me,” he said in a team statement. “Behind this case, there are certainly people who want my skin. It's weird that it happened few days after the announcement of my candidacy in the upcoming elections in my country.”

On Monday Vinokourov said that legal action was possible after the apparent hacking of his emails. He said that the matter came to light during an interview with a Swiss journalist, presumably the same writer who worked on the l’Illustre story.

The magazine has stated that more articles are forthcoming on the rider.

Two days ago, his team said that this was ‘a new episode of the pressure and personal attacks that the Kazakh leader suffered in recent years.’

“I do not understand why some people are always looking to find some stories about me,” Vinokourov said in a statement then. “I am a cyclist and there is no place in our sport for the gutter press.

“I don't ever allow myself to attack anyone personally. I wish to finish my career quietly even though obviously it bothers some people that I'm still on a bike.”

Despite the suggestion that the emails might have been obtained illegally, other media outlets have repeated l’Illustre’s claims, thus making them also potentially liable if Vinokourov can show the allegations are false. He’s indicated that legal actions could extend further than the magazine alone.

“It is a violation of my privacy,” he said. “How can we explain that emails arrive as if by chance on the desktop of a journalist without knowledge of their origin? My lawyers will also prosecute anyone who infringes on my integrity.”


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