"It is indeed disaster! A damn 0.043 second," said Tinkoff Credit Systems team owner Oleg Tinkov to Cyclingnews Monday morning in reaction to his boys' performance in the Eindhoven team time trial the day before. The eight-man team had given it all it had, using Russian-school time trialling tactics, but it fell short to CSC by less than one second.
Denmark-based CSC took the 48.6-kilometre run for a second year in a row with a team that is building for the Tour de France, including American David Zabriskie. However, Tinkov believed he hand the boys to make the difference.
"It will be an all-Russian team there," he stated last week in an interview with Cyclingnews. "I think that the Russian school for the team time trial is the best in the world. Of course, it comes from the Soviet times, but it is still one of the best schools, and all of them know how to do it from the technical perspective. ... They must win this time trial. If they don't, let's just say I will be de-motivated."
"I received telephone calls of congratulations from people in the world of cycling whose opinion is very important to me. They say it's a great success for the squad, but I won't hide my disappointment. When Tinkoff Credit Systems got a wildcard for this race the very first thought of mine was 'That's the best chance for us to win a ProTour event this year!' and I lived these months with this thought on my mind," he continued to the Team Press Officer Sergey Kurdyukov.
"To lose less than a second after almost an hour of racing – that is inconceivable! Perhaps if I went to Holland to support the team that would have been the little bit which could have helped the guys to win.
"Of course, we started in the first group, which was not a positive thing as our time checks were the reference points to everyone. On the other hand, we remained best at all the intermediate checks – but the last one. I heard that some of the teams got caught in the rain, and Discovery riders even fell, so we weren't totally unlucky after all. And yet, I'd rather see us in the fifth line of the standings than watch these tenths of a second and feel how close we were. I mean, I wanted a ProTour win very badly."
Tinkov hopes for late-summer invites to the big races for his Professional Continental team. "We'll see whether we get some wildcards for the second half of the season, but we won't be favourites. When the ripples settle, I'll think more about the fact that this was our first Pro Tour podium, but not now."