One of the biggest news items this fall was the emergence of Tinkoff Credit Systems. The formation stepped up from continental to professional continental and along the way signed some big name riders like Tyler Hamilton, Salvatore Commesso and Danilo Hondo. During the Giro d'Italia presentation Gregor Brown of Cyclingnews caught up with the two men that are making the team a reality, Omar Piscina and Oleg Tinkov.
Tinkoff Restaurants, formerly Russia-based, is advancing to professional continental level in 2007 thanks to the shrewd signings of Team Manager Omar Piscina. Piscina, former Team LPR manager, made a wave by signing German cyclist Danilo Hondo, but then made even a bigger wave when he took onboard American Tyler Hamilton.
Both riders have served their time for doping offences and are now free to race. These two will form part of the core of riders in the Italy-based Tinkoff Credit Systems for 2007. The main sponsor name has changed slightly but the man supplying the money, Oleg Tinkov, has not.
The energetic Siberian, 40 years-old this Christmas day, made his money in the beer industry (currently producing seven million bottles a month). After 20 years of riding and racing, Tinkov started his own team in 2006 to help promote his chain of restaurants, Tinkoff Restaurants, and he even signed himself as one of the team's riders. For 2007 he will not be an official racer but will work closely with the team to ensure success its riders and help promote his line of online banks.
Read the full interview with Oleg Tinkov and Omar Piscina.