Alexander Vinokourov (Astana) and Alexandr...

Vinokourov and Kolobnev charged with bribery

Former professional Alexandre Vinokourov is accused of buying 2010 Liège-Bastogne-Liège from Alexandr Kolobnev

BRUSSELS (AFP) — Alexandre Vinokourov and Russian Alexandr Kolobnev have been charged with bribery by Belgian justice authorities.

The two will face trial later this year, Belgian media reported on Wednesday.

The now-retired Olympic road race champion Vinokourov, 40, is accused of paying 150,000 euros to the 33-year-old Kolobnev to allow him to win the 2010 Liège-Bastogne-Liège one-day classic.

Kolobnev is still competing for the Katusha team.

Vinokourov, who is now managing the Astana team — which includes Tour de France champion Vincenzo Nibali — allegedly made the offer to Kolobnev as they geared up for the sprint finish.

According to Belgian media, the investigators possess several email exchanges which detail 150,000 euros being transferred from Vinokourov’s Monaco account to that of Kolobnev’s in Switzerland. Vinokourov has always denied the accusation and claimed it was a loan.

However, Liege prosecutor, Philippe Richard has charged the pair, and the trial is set to take place in a few months’ time, according to the SudPresse media group.

Vinokourov was thrown out of the 2007 Tour de France for blood doping, resulting in the expulsion of the whole Astana team from the race.