Vinokourov paid off rival - emails and bank transfers 'prove'

Allegedly paid Alexandr Kolobnev £120,000 to ease off in the final sprint

by Sarah Barth   November 4, 2012  

Alexandr Vinokourov on the Olympic podium (copyright

The Italian newspaper Corriere della Sera has accused Alexandr Vinokourov of paying off a rival to ensure his win at the Liège-Bastogne-Liège classic in April 2010, based on emails they say exchanged details of their banks to transfer the money.

Allegedly, the Olympic road race gold medallist paid Alexandr Kolobnev €150,000 (£120,000) to go easy in the final sprint, and in the end Vino came in six seconds ahead of Kolobnev.

The newspaper has forwarded details of the alleged fraud to Belgian authorities and the UCI, including Swiss authorities' confirmation of the bank transfer.

The allegations have been floating around for a couple of years, although this is the first time evidence has apparently been produced.

UCI spokesman Enrico Carpani said the governing body had asked L'illustre for evidence of the case two years ago but were turned down. "It's a very old story," he told the Guardian.

According to the paper:

The first email was sent on 26 April 2010, the day after the race, from Kolobnev, 31, who rides for Team Katusha, to Vinokourov. Kolobnev allegedly wrote: "Remember well, I had a great chance … I didn't do it for the contract but rather for the situation you found yourself in … if it had been someone else in your place I would have raced for the win, for the glory and the bonuses … now I'm waiting patiently. Take my transfer information and put them somewhere else and erase the email."

Vinokourov is said to have responded 12 days later. "Hi Kolobok, sorry that I took so long to respond," Vinokourov allegedly wrote. "Don't worry, you did everything right … as far as the agreement goes, don't worry, I'll take care of everything."

After intercepting and translating the emails, Italian investigators sought help from Swiss authorities, who proved that the account listed was Kolobnev's. Vinokourov transferred €100,000 to Kolobnev on 10 July 2010, then the remaining €50,000 on 28 December of that year, according to Corriere. Investigators claim they have "undeniable proof" of the fraud, the report said.

13 user comments

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"Rigo - look! Over there - naked ladies"

Wins gold...

andylul's picture

posted by andylul [418 posts]
4th November 2012 - 11:58


the latest in a long line of handshakes on the back of the course and not particularly unusual. it's just because it's vino who everyone loves to hate that there's a massive hoo ha.

see simpson/altig, worlds 1965.

posted by pj [148 posts]
4th November 2012 - 12:54


We are onto something here Big Grin !

posted by londonbrick [25 posts]
4th November 2012 - 19:10


That this story appears below an obituary to Tommy Godwin is irony to the extreme.
Scum like this are not even fit to pump up the tyres of someone like Godwin - never mind win Olympic medals.

posted by Some Fella [901 posts]
4th November 2012 - 20:09


Not sure you've got the right photo to go with this story. I swear the guy on the podium is Paddy Ashdown.

Doctor Fegg's picture

posted by Doctor Fegg [142 posts]
4th November 2012 - 20:58


what a splendid chap, now in team management. God help us in the effort to clean up the sport.

posted by Gary613 [39 posts]
4th November 2012 - 21:49


As pj said, this is hardly unheard of, maybe the sum of money is it a bit more than it has been in the past! Vino seems to have become a cartoon villain in the eyes of the media and so the general public. Don't get me wrong - I don't like him but there are others doing similar or worse.

posted by headfirst [83 posts]
4th November 2012 - 22:09


What a scumbag - confirms my already low opinion of him. Worst possible winner of the Olympic road race. Sad


posted by pastaman [251 posts]
4th November 2012 - 23:55


Anyone know the going rate for giving it up on a Strava KOM? Wink

Low Speed Wobble's picture

posted by Low Speed Wobble [152 posts]
5th November 2012 - 3:56


Doctor Fegg wrote:
Not sure you've got the right photo to go with this story. I swear the guy on the podium is Paddy Ashdown.

Steve Davis surely?

Silly me. You're probably right....

MercuryOne's picture

posted by MercuryOne [1161 posts]
5th November 2012 - 13:09


Freddy Maertens' autobiography has a great account of the furious in-race negotations to agree the price for help from another rider to get across to a break during the World Champs. He also claims he could have had more wins during the TdF where he took 8 stages, but sold some of them. Check out his Wikipedia entry for a few more examples of his commercial activities. Robert Millar (in "The High Life" documentary) also alluded to the fact that his failure to win the Vuelta was partly because his team manager had failed to come to "an arrangement" with the Spanish teams.

posted by kcr [101 posts]
5th November 2012 - 13:11


Not that I want to help these scumbags, but if your sending sensitive emails around (and this is good advice for everyone) then take a look at GnuPG for encrypting your emails. It has plugins for many email clients and is military grade. It also allows you to make sure your talking to the right person on the other end of the email.

posted by jackh [115 posts]
5th November 2012 - 17:50


Wonder if the Olympic road race will be reviewed as that looked a little bit suspect to me at the time?

posted by allaction [12 posts]
7th November 2012 - 20:18