By Gregor Brown
One day after Hendrik Redant reportedly turned down an offer from Russia-based Katusha, Team President Oleg Tinkov expressed that there are many false 'big-contract' speculations tied to the expanding team.
"There is only one true episode," Tinkov said to Cyclingnews concerning contracts with directeur sportifs and riders. "I offered a lot of money to [Fabian] Cancellara, being the best in world today, and he decided to stay with [CSC's Bjarne] Riis. The rest is lie and not true! This creates a negative background for our team."
Tinkov stated that there is an air of his Russian team buying staff at will and not making decisions based on experience. He pointed out it was his organisation that rejected the high proposal from Hendrik Redant, Directeur Sportif at Silence-Lotto. "We decided not to take him ... he named the price that is not in our criteria."
Team Katusha is an expansion of Tinkoff Credit Systems, which became a Professional Continental team in 2007. The new organisation will debut in 2009 and has the backing of the Russian Global Cycling Project, itself be funded by its main sponsors Gazprom, Itera and Rostechnologii.
Names linked with Katusha, which will have a budget of 15 to 20 million euro, are Belgian Gert Steegmans and Italian Filippo Pozzato. An announcement of official signings will be made September 1 stated Tinkov.
Further background on the Katusha team can be found here.