Tinkoff-Saxo team owner Oleg Tinkov issued a statement today on Facebook regarding his parting of ways with former owner Bjarne Riis and the state of cycling. In it, he indicates that he does not need to replace Riis with another 'star' director.
"The times of Sainz (sic) [former ONCE manager Manolo Saiz], [Johan] Bryneel (sic) and Riis are over - they were stuck in the 2000s and that is not necessarily about doping," Tinkov wrote. "They just don't get some obvious things and don't know how to manage teams in modern way."
Riis started the team shortly after his retirement in 1999, but after struggling to keep the team funded, he sold it to Tinkov at the end of 2013, reportedly for €6 million, staying on as lead director for €1 million per year. Tinkov and Riis announced this week that they would cease working together, by "mutual agreement".
"Managing a team is not just about issuing instructions from a car radio or about casting a spell over the riders at which Riis was unsurpassed, for example. Managing a team is about boring, monotonous work in the office. The day of the boring and meticulous managers has come - guys like Dave Brailsord and, I hope, our new Director Stefano Feltrin."
Tinkov said he is "not considering the torrent of offers of 'Riis replacements' that I have been inundated with from all over the globe".
"We don't need this - this is the old way of thinking and it is no longer viable! ... We have some of the best riders in the peloton, we have a superb team of trainers and specialists and, hey, cycling is a team sport - let's not forget that. So I believe in my team - Tinkoff-Saxo and in our team of like-minded professionals! We don't need a star-manager - we are a team of stars of world cycling: Stefano Feltrin, Steve de Jong, Sean Yates, Bobby Julich, Daniel Healey, etc. and together we will make our team into a Super-Team."
Tinkov's Facebook messages begins by saying: "World cycling has to change... or die, or maybe just lurch from scandal to scandal for another decade as we watch teams come and go."
"That is today's situation, where teams do not have income, just huge expense that would be unthinkable in other professional sports. Teams depend on sponsorship for 99% of their revenue and this model is neither viable nor durable. This is the origin of the doping, the endless scandals and the whole 'grey tinge' of this wonderful sport. The paradox is that cycling is the world's second most popular spectator sport, after football, but at the same time it is the poorest sport."
The full post can be viewed here.
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