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Vinokourov named Kazakhstan's Athlete of the Year

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All smiles for Alexandre Vinokourov (Astana)

All smiles for Alexandre Vinokourov (Astana)
(Image credit: Fotografia Deportiva / www.basurero.net)
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Alexandre Vinokourov (centre) with some of his 2011 teammates

Alexandre Vinokourov (centre) with some of his 2011 teammates
(Image credit: Daniel Simms)
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Alexander Vinokourov (Astana) celebrates his stage win in Revel

Alexander Vinokourov (Astana) celebrates his stage win in Revel
(Image credit: Bettini Photo)

Alexander Vinokourov has been voted as Athlete of the Year in Kazakhstan. He won the vote held on the country's largest website, nur.kz.

In his first full season back after a two-year suspension for blood doping, Vinokourov won the opening time trial at the Giro del Trentino on his way to the overall title. He followed that up only two days later by winning Liège-Bastogne- Liège.

After finishing sixth overall at the Giro d'Italia, where he wore the leader's jersey for five stages, he won a stage at the Tour de France. One day after narrowly missing out on a win out of an escape group, Vinokourov broke away on the final climb to solo to victory in Revel.

"This is a great pride for me to be elected as the greatest sportsman of the year in my country,” he said. "This proves that cycling is a very popular sport in Kazakhstan and that the public is aware of the value of my victories compared to other major Kazakh champions. This is an important title that rewards me and it also motivates me for the new season.”

He won with 24.2 percent of the votes ahead of world champion weightlifter Ilya Ilin (17.9%) and biathlete Elena Khrustelava (15.5%).