Alexander Vinokourov: 'No more bike racing'
Fallen Kazakh cycling star Alexander Vinokourov has denied claims that he is preparing to make a comeback to professional cycling. Vinokourov explained to Belgian news outlet HLN that he has had enough of professional cycling and would now like to have a successful business career.
The 34-year-old was suspended from cycling after testing positive to blood doping in a routine doping test after winning the time trial in last year’s Tour de France. The positive control led to his squad being asked to leave the race and to organiser Amaury Sport Organisation (ASO) not inviting the squad to contest this year’s event – despite being under new management.
“Dope tests, the Tour, cycling in general… I don’t want to talk about that any longer,” Vinokourov explained.
The 2006 Vuelta a España champion was fired by his Astana team after the doping test. Vinokourov has always denied he used blood doping and received only a light sentence of just one year, which will finish on July 21 this year.
Vinokourov has no more contact with his former rivals. The rider, who Kazakhstan’s government had hoped would bring glory to the nation, has been shunned by his former competitors following last July’s drama.
“They do not want to know me anymore,” he explained. “The cycling world has been seriously ill for two or three years already. But I do not want to think about that anymore. I was simply a scapegoat.”
Vinokourov laughed off rumours of a comeback and says he wants to do business in France, where he lives. Vinokourov says that he wants to continue being active, but will concentrate on “triathlon, but purely as a hobby” but he does want to open a training centre for top athletes in Grasse.
“I have bought a hotel and am now awaiting the authorisation to carry out conversions and a football field to be set,” he said.