Prosecutors in Belgium have urged a criminal court to impose a jail sentence of six months against former professional cyclists Alexander Vinoukourov and Alexandr Kolobnev for corruption relating to their allegedly fixing the result of the 2010 edition of Liège-Bastogne-Liège.
The race was won by Astana 's Vinokourov and it is alleged that ahead of the finish he struck a deal with Kolobnev, who finished 6 seconds behind in second place, to pay the Katusha cyclist €150,000 if he did not dispute the finale, reports L’Equipe.
The public prosecutor’s office is also seeking a fine of €100,000 against Vinokourov and €50,000 against Kolobnev.
It has also requested the confiscation of €150,000 seized from the latter’s bank account in Lugano, Switzerland, during the investigation.
Lawyers for both the accused deny the charges and claim that they are inadmissible. They have asked for both to be acquitted or, alternatively, for any jail sentence handed down to be suspended.
Judgment is due to be delivered at the criminal court in Liege on 8 October.
The case has been rumbling on for several years, with world cycling’s governing body opening an investigation in 2012 but subsequently closing it with no action taken.
The same year, investigators in Italy identified two transfers, one of €50,000, the other of €100,000, from Vinokourov’s Monaco bank account to Kolobnev’s Swiss one, and also uncovered emails between the pair.
In July 2012 Vinokourov, who retired from racing after winning Olympic gold in London that summer and is now general manager of Astana journalists he had made payments to Kolobnev but insisted the money was a loan and nothing to do with his Liège-Bastogne-Liège victory.
The investigation by prosecutors in Belgium, meanwhile, was launched in 2014.
Vinokourov has been in the news in recent days for a different reason – on Sunday, he won the world championship in his age group at the Ironman 70.3 triathlon in Nice.
Born in Scotland, Simon moved to London aged seven and now lives in the Oxfordshire Cotswolds with his miniature schnauzer, Elodie. He fell in love with cycling one Saturday morning in 1994 while living in Italy when Milan-San Remo went past his front door. A daily cycle commuter in London back before riding to work started to boom, he's been news editor at road.cc since 2009. Handily for work, he speaks French and Italian. He doesn't get to ride his Colnago as often as he'd like, and freely admits he's much more adept at cooking than fettling with bikes.