Vinokourov to sue magazine over bribe claim

Vinokourov to sue magazine over bribe claim
By Reuters

07/12/2011 at 22:50Updated 08/12/2011 at 00:08

Alexandre Vinokourov is taking legal action against Swiss magazine L'Illustre over a report he bribed a fellow cyclist in order to win the 2010 Liege-Bastogne-Liege race, his Astana team said on Wednesday.

The Kazakhstan rider, who retired this year before changing his mind, was accused of paying 100,000 euros in a bribe to win the prestigious classic.

Astana, which said earlier in the week that the 38-year-old's email account had been hacked, announced Vinokourov would be filing a claim against the magazine for defamation.

"I can't accept that gossiping about me," Vinokourov said in a statement.

"Behind this case, there are certainly people who want my skin. It's weird that it happened a few days after the announcement of my candidacy in the upcoming (parliamentary) elections in my country."

Vinokourov, one of cycling's most imposing figures, was banned for two years after testing positive for blood doping at the 2007 Tour de France.

Winner of the Spanish Vuelta in 2006, Vinokourov announced his retirement after breaking his leg in a crash during July's Tour de France but had a change of heart and returned to competition in October.