Alexandre Vinokourov cleared of corruption in race-fixing case

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BRUSSELS — A judicial official says former Olympic cycling champion Alexandre Vinokourov and fellow rider Alexandr Kolobnev have been cleared of corruption charges in a suspected case of race-fixing.

The pair faced up to six months in jail after being accused of fixing the result of the 2010 Liege-Bastogne-Liege race.

In a message to The Associated Press, Liege prosecutor’s office spokeswoman Catherine Collignon said they were given “the benefit of the doubt.”

Both riders had denied accusations that Vinokourov paid Kolobnev 150,000 euros to let him win the race. Prosecutors had also requested that Vinokourov pay a fine of 100,000 euros ($110,000), and Kolobnev faced a fine of 50,000 euros ($55,000).

Vinokourov won the 2006 Spanish Vuelta and four individual stages at the Tour de France between 2003-10. He was given a two-year ban after testing positive for blood doping at the 2007 Tour but came back to win the men’s road race at the 2012 London Olympics.

He now serves as team manager for Astana, where he spent much of his professional career.

CAS upholds Nairo Quintana DQ from Tour de France for opioid use

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LAUSANNE, Switzerland – The disqualification of two-time Tour de France runner-up Nairo Quintana from his sixth place in the 2022 race for misuse of an opioid was confirmed by the Court of Arbitration for Sport.

CAS said its judges dismissed Quintana’s appeal and agreed with the International Cycling Union that the case was a medical matter rather than a doping rules violation. He will not be banned.

The court said the judges ruled “the UCI’s in-competition ban on tramadol was for medical rather than doping reasons and was therefore within the UCI’s power and jurisdiction.”

Traces of the synthetic painkiller tramadol were found in two dried blood spot samples taken from the Colombian racer five days apart in July, the UCI previously said.

Quintana’s case is among the first to rely on the dried blood spot (DBS) method of collecting samples which the World Anti-Doping Agency approved last year.

Tramadol was banned in 2019 from use at cycling races because of potential side effects. They include the risk of addiction, dizziness, drowsiness and loss of attention.

Quintana finished second in the Tour de France in 2013 and 2015, won both times by Chris Froome. He won the 2014 Giro d’Italia.

Filippo Ganna breaks cycling’s hour world record

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GRENCHEN, Switzerland — Time trial specialist Filippo Ganna broke cycling’s hour record when he covered 56.792 kilometers in 60 minutes.

The Italian extended the record by more than 1.2 kilometers, the biggest jump in seven years.

Asked to describe the pain of the last five minutes, he said, “I lost energy to try to go for 57, but nothing (in the legs).”

He said he was open to another attempt at a different time of the season, when he was fresher.

Ganna took the record from British teammate Dan Bigham, who made his mark at the same Swiss velodrome on Aug. 19.