MILAN (AFP) — An Italian newspaper has published emails that appear to back previous allegations that retired Olympic cycling champion Alexander Vinokourov paid off a rival to win his second Liège-Bastogne-Liège in 2010.
Vinokourov, banned for blood doping during 2007-09, has already faced claims that he paid Russian rival Alexander Kolobnev 150,000 euros to secure his second victory in cycling’s oldest one-day classic.
Swiss magazine L’Illustre made the initial accusations last year.
Now Italian newspaper Corriere della Sera has published emails between the riders that appear to support the accusations.
A first email sent from Kolobnev to Vinokourov the day after the race allegedly reads: “I don’t know if I did the right thing. I didn’t do it for the contract (money) but out of respect for you and for the situation you were in.
“Even my wife was disappointed I finished second.”
Vinokourov’s second victory in “La Doyenne” was his biggest win since he returned from a doping ban a year earlier.
The same email from Kolobnev, which allegedly contained details of a bank account in Switzerland, adds: “Now I’m waiting patiently. Take my details and delete this email.”
Vinokourov reportedly answered several days later: “Hi Kolobok (Kolobnev’s nickname) I’m sorry I didn’t answer you earlier. Don’t worry, you did the right thing. …
“You said yourself that what goes around comes around and God sees everything.
“I will respect our deal. You’ll have to wait a while. Vino.”
The newspaper claims two payments were then made to Kolobnev, the first of 100,000 euros on July 12, 2010 and the second of 50,000 on December 28.
After his Liège win, Vinokourov, when asked about its significance after his doping ban, refused to discuss details of his doping past, telling reporters: “It’s proof you can win without doping.”
Vinokourov, Kazakhstan’s biggest sports star of his generation, stunned the field at the Olympic road race last August to win gold, then announced his retirement from the sport.
Details of the latest allegations have been passed to the Union Cycliste Internationale (UCI).