UCI states it wants to interview Vinokourov and Kolobnev over alleged race fixing
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Tuesday, November 06, 2012

UCI states it wants to interview Vinokourov and Kolobnev over alleged race fixing

by Shane Stokes at 4:25 PM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Liège-Bastogne-Liège
 
Investigation into 2010 Liège-Bastogne-Liège

Alexandre VinokourovFollowing on from news that the a file relating to the final outcome of the 2010 Liège-Bastogne-Liège had been sent by the Padua Prosector’s office to the UCI, the governing body has confirmed that it wishes to meet with the two riders involved in alleged race-fixing ‘as soon as possible.’

Retired Kazakhstan rider Alexandre Vinokourov (Astana) and Russian Alexandr Kolobnev are accused of coming to a financial agreement concerning the outcome of the WorldTour race, which was Vinokourov’s then-biggest victory after he returned from a long suspension.

The duo had escaped in the closing stages of the prestigious Classic and, according to investigators, negotiated the outcome of the race between them.

According to Swiss magazine l’Illustre, Vinokourov agreed to pay his rival €150, 000 to let him win the race. Italian newspaper Corriere della Sera printed a story last week which quoted from what it is said are emails between the two riders discussing payment.

The UCI today confirmed that it received what it terms a partial dossier from the Padua Prosecutors in relation to Vinokourov’s victory, and states that it will investigate the matter.

“The UCI takes these issues extremely seriously. The UCI has been requesting information concerning related media allegations since December 2011, when they were first raised by the Swiss magazine L'Illustré. To date, the information provided to the UCI has not been sufficient to take legal action,” it said in a statement.

“Now, in the light of this additional information gathered as part of the Padua inquiry, the UCI will open an official inquiry into the issue.”

While Vinokourov has retired, the issue could have repercussions for his former team, which he is expected to manage in 2013. It could also have a big impact on Katusha. “If this inquiry reveals any team involvement, the UCI may also, in accordance with the rules, ask the Licence Commission to re-evaluate the awarding of UCI licences to Team Astana and Team Katusha,” stated the governing body.

“In the meantime, the UCI will request Alexandr Vinokourov and Alexandr Kolobnev to attend a meeting at its headquarters in Aigle, Switzerland, as soon as possible to provide the UCI with their response to the contents of the Padua inquiry dossier.”

It concluded by saying that it is committed to look into all issues which have been brought up by the Padua investigation ‘in a constructive and transparent manner in order to safeguard the integrity of the sport of cycling.’

The UCI is under the spotlight as a result of the Lance Armstrong/US Postal Service doping affair. It has said that it will permit an independent investigation into the issue and its relationship with Armstrong.

More details of that investigation could come this week.

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