Last year, Oleg Tinkov threatened to boycott the Tour de France in 2016 but with the race just a month away, and his departure from the sport set for the end of the season, he has called on race organisers ASO to take control and save cycling from the ‘impotent’ and ‘bureaucratic’ UCI.
Speaking exclusively to Cyclingnews at the Criterium du Dauphine, the Tinkoff team owner repeated his belief that the economic model within cycling was fundamentally flawed and that more teams would continue to fold under the pressure in the coming years. However, instead of arguing that the teams or organisations such as Velon should lead from the front – as he has done in the past – Tinkov suggested that the Tour de France organisers should create their own league, even if it meant doing so without the UCI.
Tinkov has been one of the most vocal team bosses in relation to the stunted UCI reforms for 2017 and the failure to introduce a sound economic model. He leaves the sport at the end of the season having invested millions of his own fortune in a team he bought from Bjarne Riis in 2013 but is now set to close at the end of the season.
“Then there should be less races but I should stress that we also need a salary cap introduced. What happened now is that when you have a guy like Sagan, Contador or Froome on the market the price can go anywhere because you’ve got ten teams who are competing. The salary cap is needed but ASO need to take the lead and take control of cycling.”
Tinkov is also certain that the UCI do not have the experience or knowledge to improve the structural issues within cycling. He as grown frustrated with what he perceives as a lack of pace and leadership from the governing body.
Contador and Sagan