"Come to think of it, we had a real chance to make the overall podium!" said Tinkoff Credit Systems Team Owner Oleg Tinkov just minutes after the queen stage of Tirreno-Adriatico. His charge Vasil Kiryienka made his moves on the final climb to San Giacomo but could only manage fourth, 45 seconds back on winner Matteo Bono.
"Vasil was so close... But he did his best; he didn't feel well at the end of the stage, yet demonstrated his willpower and remained at the front – so I can't say I'm unhappy with him.
"Generally speaking, the race gives me much more positive emotions than negative ones, because basically the team proved itself despite illness and crashes. The most important thing is the fact that now we know we can do it in ProTour races, there is nothing in them beyond our reach, so we'll fight on."
The team currently holds the number one spot in the team’s classification, 1'07" over Astana. "The top position in the team standings is not to be overlooked either. There is something symbolic about it, if you like, as our real strength is team spirit. Just look how Daniele Contrini worked in the breakaway for Vasil Kiryienka. I know what kind of work it was to stay in the lead for kilometres on end on a terrain like that!"
Oleg Tinkov knew what he was talking about as he scouted out the first part of today's route, including the first climb, with General Manager Stefano Feltrin, and not behind the wheel but in the saddle. They found it truly hard.
"It is a great pity for me I couldn't quite achieve what we were aiming for today," Vasil Kiryienka said. Tinkoff was the only team with two members in the 10-man escape that dominated Monday's stage. "The team did a great job; in the breakaway Daniele Contrini gave pulls so powerful that we could barely stay on his wheel, and it was owing to him that the gap reached more than five minutes.
"Already at the bottom of the final climb I didn't have much left in me, and I gave all what was left, unfortunately it wasn't enough for moving up to the top of the general standings."