Vinokourov returns to Liège-Bastogne-Liège

2005 Liège winner to support Contador on Sunday

Alberto Contador will have some additional support for Sunday's Liège-Bastogne-Liège after Astana named Alexandre Vinokourov its line-up for the final Ardennes Classic on Thursday.

The Kazakh rider won Liège-Bastogne-Liège in 2005, when he attacked with Jens Voigt 50 kilometres from the finish and then beat him in the sprint.

Despite now being 36, Vinokourov showed he is on excellent form this week by dominating the first stage of the Giro del Trentino on Tuesday. He also finished second to Riccardo Ricco (Ceramica Flaminia) on the first mountain finish on Wednesday and still leads overall. The four-day event ends on Friday and Vinokourov will immediately travel to Belgium to get ready for Sunday's race. He will replace Josep Jufre in an otherwise unchanged Astana roster.

It will be Vinokourov's first ride in Liège-Bastogne-Liège since his suspension for blood doping at the 2007 Tour de France. However, he has ridden the race with Contador once before, in 2006, when both were part of the Liberty Seguros-Würth managed by Manolo Saiz. Just four weeks after that race the Spanish team manager was arrested as part of the Spanish doping investigation, Operacion Puerto.

The complete Astana line-up is thus as follows: Alberto Contador, Dimitri Fofonov, Andriy Grivko, Maxim Iglinskiy, Benjamin Noval, Oscar Pereiro, Gorazd Stangelj, Alexandre Vinokourov.

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