Alexandre Vinokourov launched an attack on what he views as the “gutter press” and claimed that his email account has been hacked. In a statement released on Monday morning, the Astana team said that Vinokourov had been informed during an interview with a Swiss journalist that his emails had been hacked.
The motives of the purported hackers have not been specified and to date no information regarding the contents of Vinokourov’s emails has been published. The Astana statement warned that Vinokourov would take legal action “if new press articles about his private life should be published in the future".
"I do not understand why some people are always looking to find some stories about me,” Vinokourov said. “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.”
Vinokourov was initially set to bring the curtain down on his controversial career after he crashed out of the 2011 Tour de France, but he returned to action at the Chrono des Nations in October and intends to continue racing until the London 2012 Olympics.
The Astana statement also denounced a fake Twitter account that had been established in Vinokourov’s name during summer, and cited both incidents as examples of the “pressure and personal attacks that the Kazakh leader [has] suffered in recent years.”
Last week, it was announced that Vinokourov had been named among the ruling Nur Otan party’s list of candidates for Kazakhstan’s next general election, which takes place on January 15.