Hello from Leeds! It's Tour de France time. Are you ready for a great race? I can’t wait for the racing to start. I won't be able to be on the race all the time but I'll be watching closely every day. If you want to support Tinkoff-Saxo during the Tour de France please use the Twitter hash tag Tinkoff4TDF.
I rode with the team on the cobbles before we flew to Leeds on my private jet and then I rode with the guys in the new team kit. Do you like it? I think it looks cool and stands out more.
I was surprised how tough the roads are in Yorkshire. They're often narrow and go up and down all the time. I'm not as fit as when I rode at the Giro but I'm sure it's going to be a crazy opening two stages.
Before talking about the Tour de France in detail, I want to get something off my chest about Roman Kreuziger's situation. We decided not to include him our Tour team because of the on-going case about possible variations in his UCI Biological Passport. It's a pity that we lost Roman because he's difficult to replace, but we continue to be the strongest team in the race and I trust Roman all the way.
To be honest I don't understand how an investigation can be shelved and then un-shelved over a three-year period. It looks weird and suspicious to open a case that is three years old on Alberto Contador's most important teammate just before the Tour de France.
It seems political, at least to me. I have met with Mr. Cookson, the UCI President recently. He impressed me a lot and is definitely a step forward from the previous UCI president, but this situation doesn't help things. Some people on Twitter suggested that Cookson is behind the Kreuziger case to favour Team Sky that is also British, but I don’t want to believe that.
Let's talk about Le Tour
Let's talk about the Tour de France because that's far more interesting than anything else.
I'm convinced the Tour will be a battle between Froome and Alberto this year. The bookmakers have made them the two big favourites, with everyone else set for a minor role. It's going to be like Chelsea and Manchester United fighting in the Champions League soccer final. Sky is United and we're Chelsea, who also have a Russian owner thanks to my friend Roman Abramovitch We're ready for a fight with Team Sky at Le Tour.
Froome has the power and cadence to attack, he can produce a lot of watts for a short time, but Alberto was able to go on his wheel at the Dauphine. Alberto is more old school in the way he races. He follows his instinct and listens to his body, while Froome seems follow what his power metre shows.
Cycling is about being both mental and physical strength and Alberto was not strong last year. But he is now. I've seen that in the races so far this season and in the last few days. I saw that when I rode on the cobbles with him this week. Bjarne Riis said he's in the form of his life and has never been better. He's very slim but still has his power. He dropped Froome twice at the Criterium di Dauphine. He's ready to take on Froome and beat him this time.
I'm convinced that Bjarne is the best sports director in the peloton and that he has selected a great team to help Alberto win. We're really strong for the Tour. That's not bullshit, even if some people won't agree. Okay the team wasn't great at the Dauphine but we learnt our lesson from that.
Team Sky is not great and I'm sure everyone would agree that they've had a terrible year. I'd be concerned if I was them but I also feel sorry for them. Sky is a big sponsor but they've had little return for their investment this year. They will have to put all their chips on the table at the Tour de France, while we don’t have to win the Tour to have a good season.
Anyway lets enjoy the racing and the final verdict will be decided in Paris. See you there to celebrate!
Oleg Tinkov created his business empire by selling jeans he bought at a training camp as a junior. He now owns the Tinkoff-Saxo team and is never afraid to speak his mind, be it about team leader Alberto Contador, Tour de France rivals Team Sky and especially about how professional cycling is managed.
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