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Astana says Alexander Vinokourov will file defamation claim against Swiss magazine

2011 Alexander Vinokourov plans legal action
Alexander Vinokourov finds it suspicious that allegations of his buying a race victory surfaced so soon after the annoucement of his candidacy for the Kazakh parliament. Photo courtesy Astana

Alexander Vinokourov will take legal action against a Swiss magazine that charged him with buying his victory in the 2010 Liège-Bastogne-Liège, his Astana team said Wednesday.

The magazine L’Illustre‘s report, based on an exchange of emails between Vinokourov and Alexander Kolobnev, alleged that the Astana captain paid $134,000 to his Katusha rival to avoid a two-up sprint for the victory.

Astana, which said earlier in the week that Vinokourov’s email account had been hacked, told Reuters that their rider would file a claim against the magazine for defamation.

“I can’t accept that gossiping about me,” Vinokourov said in a statement. “Behind this case, there are certainly people who want my skin. It’s weird that it happened a few days after the announcement of my candidacy in the upcoming (parliamentary) elections in my country.”

Kolobnev, meanwhile, is awaiting a decision from the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS), which is considering the UCI’s appeal of the Russian cycling federation’s decision not to suspend the rider following a positive test for the banned diuretic hydrochlorothiazide during stage 4 of the 2011 Tour de France.

Hydrochlorothiazide is a product used for treating hypertension and triggers the body to remove excess liquid from the system. The diuretic is banned under WADA as it could be used as a possible masking agent.

In July, Kolobnev said, “I don’t know where it came from” and left the race during the Tour’s ninth stage. Contacted by VeloNews after the UCI filed its appeal he declined further comment “until the process is completed.”

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