Liège-Bastogne-Liège winner Alexandre Vinokourov fired back at the press for being critical over his return to the top of the sport following his two-year suspension for blood doping.
The Astana team rider issued a letter to the press defending his right to win. Below is the letter in full:
"While reading the press comments regarding my last victory in Liège - Bastogne - Liège I was deeply saddened. I don't understand this persecution against me.
"I can't do anything against the doubts hanging over me since the 2007 case, but I reject all the accusations brought against me today, without any evidence.
"Since my return in August, I have always been honest with the press, I responded to all requests for interviews, I have hidden nothing. Ironically, my victory in Liège seems to revive old jealousies for which I am not responsible.
"The media comments contrast with the hundreds of congratulatory messages from fans that I keep getting on my website and my Facebook page. I don't understand this discrepancy. As if I had to be forbidden of success on my bike to leave everyone with a clear conscience.
"In which sport are we allowed to be at the start of a competition without the right to win? I love cycling, it gave me everything and I want to give it good things in return.
"I paid two years on suspension for the dark years of my career. If I repeated that I didn't want to talk about it, it's only for the sake of my sport. I don't think cycling needs to reconsider all these dirty stories to move forward.
"This is my personal vision of this problem, everybody is not obliged to share it. Obviously my attitude that I consider the most correct and most respectful way possible is one more time misinterpreted. I'm sorry. Again, I have nothing to hide.
"Since my comeback I have been the subject of more than 30 doping tests, all negatives, including 21 in the context of the ADAMS. This allows me to validate my biological passport and therefore to race.
"In Tenerife, where I had my recent training before the Tour of Trentino that raised the indignation of some journalists, I was subject to two unannounced blood and urine tests in two weeks.
"I can't do more than what the sport regulations ask me, to prove my honesty. Today, I only wish to be respected as I respect everyone, my colleagues in the peloton as the journalists. I don't want to be the only and too easy target for all the ills of cycling. "