Oleg Tinkov, Russian billionaire who is behind the new Tinkoff Credit Systems, is interested in signing Jan Ullrich. According to La Gazzetta dello Sport, one month ago, Tinkov had ordered Team Manager Omar Piscina to make contact with the German cyclist.
Even though Jan Ullrich is caught up in the legal wrangles brought on by Operación Puerto, the man who made his money though brewing beer and restaurants waits patiently. 37 year-old Tinkov is interested in expanding his business through Europe and the USA, thus the interest in Jan Ullrich and American Tyler Hamilton.
As reported last week, Piscina is interested in signing the Olympic gold medallist who was banned from the sport for blood transfusions two years ago following his stage win in the 2004 Vuelta a España. "Tinkov believes that he merits a second chance," confirmed Omar Piscina to La Gazzetta dello Sport.
Tinkoff Credit Systems, named so to help promote Tinkov's new banks, will be directed by Orlando Maini and Dimitri Konyshev. Russian Konyshev, who retired this year, should help the eight Russian riders integrate into the team for 2007.