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Vinokourov and Kolobnev due in court on May 15 in Liege-Bastogne-Liege corruption case

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Alexandr Kolobnev (Katusha) and Alexandre Vinokourov (Astana) speed to the finish in Ans.

Alexandr Kolobnev (Katusha) and Alexandre Vinokourov (Astana) speed to the finish in Ans.
(Image credit: www.ispaphoto.com)
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Vino looks around to see how close Alexandr Kolobnev is in the final 300m.

Vino looks around to see how close Alexandr Kolobnev is in the final 300m.
(Image credit: Elmar Krings)
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The 2010 Liège-Bastogne-Liège podium (l-r): Alejandro Valverde, Alexandre Vinokourov, Alexandr Kolobnev.

The 2010 Liège-Bastogne-Liège podium (l-r): Alejandro Valverde, Alexandre Vinokourov, Alexandr Kolobnev.
(Image credit: Sirotti)
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Alexandre Vinokourov (Astana) wins the 96th edition of Liège - Bastogne - Liège.

Alexandre Vinokourov (Astana) wins the 96th edition of Liège - Bastogne - Liège.
(Image credit: www.ispaphoto.com)
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The race winning break of Alexandre Vinokourov (Astana) and Alexandr Kolobnev (Katusha).

The race winning break of Alexandre Vinokourov (Astana) and Alexandr Kolobnev (Katusha).
(Image credit: Bettini Photo)

Alexandre Vinokourov and Alexandr Kolobnev are due to appear in court in Liege on May 15 to answer allegations of corruption relating to the 2010 Liege-Bastogne-Liege, which Vinokourov won ahead of Kolobnev. The news was reported on Saturday by Belgian outlets Sudpresse and Le Soir.

In December 2011, Swiss magazine L'Illustre accused Vinokourov of paying Kolobnev €150,000 to let him win the race and later published emails between the two that appeared to indicate an agreement between them. 

Both riders have repeatedly denied buying or selling the race, with Vinokourov suggesting that the payment was a loan. "It's my private life," Vinokourov told L'Illustre in 2011. "It's another story to blacken my name. I often loan money left and right."

In 2012, the Padova-based investigation into the activities of Doctor Michele Ferrari uncovered details of two payments totalling €150,000, which were reportedly made from Vinokourov's Monaco bank account to Kolobnev's Swiss account on July 12 and December 28 of 2010. The UCI received the documents pertaining to the case from the Padova investigators in November 2012, but no action was taken.

In May 2014, a Liege court began to investigate the payments, as well as a third payment made from the Kazakhstani cycling federation to Vinokourov's account. In September 2015, it recommended that the case go to trial.

Vinokourov's 2010 Liège-Bastogne-Liège victory came after he escaped with Kolobnev on the Côte de la Roche aux Faucons with 17 kilometres remaining. He distanced the Russian with 600 metres to go on the final drag up the Côte de Ans.

It was Vinokourov's first Classic victory since returning from a two-year ban for blood doping the previous summer, and he was jeered by some sections of the crowd as he stood on the podium at the finish.

Vinokourov retired from racing after winning gold at the London 2012 Olympics and has since served as general manager of Astana Pro Team.

Kolobnev remained with Katusha until 2015, then raced in the colours of Gazprom-Rusvelo last season before bringing the curtain down on his career over the winter.