Oleg Tinkov was happy to see Alberto Contador extending his overall lead in the Giro d’Italia after following the stage in the Tinkoff-Saxo team car, yet he struggled to hide his anger against the Astana and Katusha teams, who attacked and forced Contador to chase after he stopped for a wheel change 20km before the start of the Mortirolo. The Spaniard went on to catch, pass and distance Fabio Aru and many of his other overall rivals but was forced to make a huge effort.
There was much debate about fair play, respect, class and honesty after the stage at the team buses and in the hotels. Much of it was in Russian, with Tinkov calling Katusha directeur sportif Dimitri Konychev to question why they attacked en mass, as Contador slipped back to get a back wheel from teammate Ivan Basso.
Konychev insisted to Cyclingnews that they did not know that Contador was behind when the team hit the front on the descent to Aprica to set up Yuri Trofimov for the Mortirolo.
“I told Oleg on the phone that race radio didn’t announce that Contador had punctured. I just heard that one of the Astana riders had stopped – whether it was because of a fall or not, I don’t know. But I didn’t expect that Contador would lose Aru’s wheel [on the descent],” the Russian said almost mischievously.
Click here to watch more Giro d'Italia race highlights.