Olympic champ Vinokourov in court on race-fixing charges

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Alexandr Kolobnev

The 2012 Olympic cycling champion Alexandre Vinokourov is to face trial accused of paying off a rival in the final few hundred metres of the Belgian classic Liege-Bastogne-Liege race, a court said on Friday.

The 43-year-old Kazakh and London Games road race champion denies agreeing a deal with Russian Alexandr Kolobnev whilst racing towards the finish line in 2010 as the pair led the race, a huge event on the Belgian sports calendar.

Their lawyers have two weeks to provide evidence that would avoid a trial or go to court later this year.

Vinokourov is alleged to have agreed to pay Kolobnev 150,000 euros to let him win the race. 

The case is based on email exchanges between the riders as well as two payments of 100,000 euros and 50,000 euros made in July and December of that year.

Both have denied the accusations after the case first came to light when Swiss and Italian media uncovered the matter and the International Cycling Union took action.

Vinokourov won the Tour of Spain in 2006, was third in the Tour de France in 2003 and was banned for a year for blood doping in 2007. – Agence France-Presse

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