The Kazakhstan city of Almaty has defended its decision to use Alexandre Vinokourov as one of its ambassadors in its bid to host the 2022 Winter Olympics reports insidethegames.biz. Almaty 2022 vice-chairman, Andrey Kryukov, said that as there was no evidence Vinokourov was currently involved in doping, they do not see that there was any negative impact.
Vinokourov has been listed as the first Bid Ambassador on the Almaty 2022 website despite a positive test for blood doping. “His title is Olympic champion in London,” explained Kryukov, when questioned.
Vinokourov retains the status of national hero in Kazakhstan despite serving a two-year ban following a positive test for an illegal blood transfusion during the 2007 Tour de France and he may also face criminal charges for corruption relating to the 2010 edition of Liege-Bastogne-Liege. More recently, his Astana team has been under the microscope following several doping cases and what UCI president Brian Cookson has referred to as a ‘long and chequered history’.
The IOC Evaluation Commission is currently in Kazakhstan and even if Kryukov thinks Vinokourov’s past is not an issue, history shows that doping questions were asked and played a key part in Tokyo's victory over Istanbul and Madrid in the race for the 2020 Summer Olympics.
Last year we reported that negotiations were taking place between an unnamed Dutch company and the Kazakh Ministry of Culture and Information to produce a film about Vinokourov. Kazakh website, Tengri News, described a film that is unlikely to be considered a hard-hitting exposé: “According to the script, the banned substances got into his blood through painkillers that were prescribed by doctors after he had an injury during one of the stages of Tour de France.”