Vinokourov, Kolobnev to face corruption trial in March

Astana general manager Alexandre Vinokourov and former Katusha rider Alexandr Kolobnev, accused of conspiring to fix the finale of the 2010 Liège-Bastogne-Liège, will face judgement in a Belgian court on March 13, 2018, reported today.

Both riders deny accusations that Vinokourov paid Kolobnev to win the Monument. It was Vinokourov's second victory in La Doyenne after he topped Jens Voigt and Michael Boogerd in 2005.

The pair had escaped on the Côte de la Roche aux Faucons with 17km to go, and successfully worked together to hold off chaser Philippe Gilbert. Vinokourov attacked Kolobnev inside the final kilometer to take the win, while Gilbert was eventually caught in the final kilometer by Cadel Evans and Alejandro Valverde, who out-sprinted the others for the final podium spot.

The allegations of race-fixing first came to light in 2011, before Vinokourov retired, when the Swiss magazine L'Illustre reported that he paid Kolobnev €100,000 to secure the victory.

Vinokourov flatly denied the accusation, saying "I never did that in my career - I always fought to win."

Kolobnev said he had been at his limit in the attack, and simply could not follow Vinokourov.

But as Vinokourov threatened legal action against the magazine for its report, L'Illustre published an email exchange between the pair that seemed to substantiate its claims.

After a 2012 investigation into Michele Ferrari and his clients turned up two payments totalling €150,000 from Vinokourov's account to Kolobnev's, the Belgian court in Liège began investigating the transactions. In 2015, the investigators recommended the case go to trial.

The date was initially set for May, 2017.

Vinokourov attacked the "gutter press" for hacking his emails, while Kolobnev said he was being discriminated against by the Belgian courts for failing to provide translations of the court documents.

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