By Jean-François Quénet in Saint-Etienne, France
One year ago at the Dauphiné, in the midst of controversies around his then directeur sportif Manolo Saiz implication in the Operación Puerto, Alexandre Vinokourov had been questioned about his advisor in terms of training and medicine. His answer was: "When I was with T-Mobile, I was working with Dr Lothar Heinrich. I know pretty much what to do now but if I have a doubt, I call Dr Lothar Heinrich again."
One year later, his statement has taken a different direction after Heinrich's admission of having contributed to a system of doping inside the Telekom team, where Vinokourov rode from 2000 through to the end of 2005. Asked about his adviser by Le Parisien-Aujourd'hui en France at this year's Dauphiné, the Kazak made the situation clear. "Our relationship is over," he stated. "I'm gone. Now I'm alone. I don't regret this collaboration in the past. Heinrich is a good person. But you can never know what people do in life."