Oleg Tinkov is leaving cycling and the team he funded for the last two years – Tinkoff Credit Systems. The Russian businessman met Cyclingnews' Gregor Brown to explain why he will not be continuing in 2009 with Team Katusha.
Oleg Tinkov developed his Continental team into a well-established Professional Continental Team, Tinkoff Credit Systems, at the end of 2006. The Italy-based, Russia-funded team gained numerous victories, including two stages in the Giro d'Italia. The team announced midway through this season that it would expand with the help of new sponsors and be known as Team Katusha for 2009.
Igor Makarov's Itera backs the new team with additional funding from sponsors Gazprom and Rostechnologii. With the budget of 15 to 20 million Euro, it signed several key riders to bolster its ranks – Australian Robbie McEwen, Belgian Gert Steegmans, Italian Filippo Pozzato, Russians Vladimir Karpets and Alexandre Botcharov. The signing of former top professional Andrei Tchmil as general director in July did not make sense in Tinkov's eyes. The two tried to work side-by-side, but Tinkov decided to leave his loved sport in September.