On Saturday the outspoken and often controversial owner of Tinkoff Team, Oleg Tinkoff, Russian former brewery owner and current credit card mogul, announced to Cycling News that he would sell the team at the end of the 2016, frustrated with sinking his money into the squad and what he sees as resistance to change in the cycling business community.
Tinkoff revealed his anger with ASO and the UCI, who he called “stupid guys”, and dismissed all those who he saw as refusing to change the cycling business model: “F*** all of them.”
There was speculation this autumn before the announcement that Tinkoff might sell the team back to Bjarne Riis, the Dane who sold his share of the team to the Russian in 2013. Once Saxo Bank, the squad became Saxo Bank-Tinkoff in 2012, Tinkoff-Saxo in 2014 and will compete next year as Tinkoff Team.
Tinkoff said, “I don’t mind who buys the team. It can be Bjarne Riis if he wants the team back. Someone has mentioned that the Polish guy behind the CCC team is interested or maybe someone else. Whoever pays the highest price will get the team. It’s got some assets. Peter Sagan and Rafa Majka have contracts for 2017 and so whoever buys the team automatically gets those guys for a year and Peter is the best rider in the world now.”
Tinkoff also sponsored and ran the Tinkoff Credit Systems team from 2006-2008, the squad in which world time trial champion Vasil Kiryienka first came to prominence.
The Russian business has alienated many in cycling with aggressive tweets criticizing his own riders and others, spouting sexism and even comparing President Barack Obama to a monkey.
He won’t be missed by all.
— Crosseyed & Phishy (@iamtourmalet) December 13, 2015