You get the feeling that Oleg Tinkov likes to rub it in people’s noses. Especially if that nose is attached to Bjarne Riis.
The short-lived marriage between the stoic Dane and the flamboyant Russian flamed out earlier this summer, and now Tinkov is taking his millions elsewhere. And Tinkov has been savoring the moment via his Twitter account.
Last week, Tinkov gloated that he had “found a new team” and that it would be made public shortly.
Where remains to be seen, but there are rumors flying that Cannondale could be on the receiving end of the Russian’s generosity.
Cannondale team officials on Sunday refused to add fuel to the social media fire that suggests Tinkov will be joining the squad.
“This is a rumor that many people are talking about,” a Cannondale team official told VeloNews. “And we do not have any comment.”
Of course, no comment is not the same as saying it’s not true.
Cannondale could certainly use some cash. The team was allegedly very close to forfeiting its costly UCI ProTeam license, and settling for a less expensive Pro Continental license, although team officials said that was not the case.
With Peter Sagan gaining superstar status, he certainly will bring a high price tag to his salary, well into the millions of euros a year.
Sagan will also want to see more support. And that means the team will need to have the pockets to sign riders.
Other teams would certainly welcome Tinkov’s largesse, and even Jonathan Vaughters last week was jokingly asking the Russian to join his Garmin-Sharp squad.
Tinkov boasts that he brings 6 million euros to the table, nearly enough to underwrite an entire team on his own. He suggested as much in the wake of his split with Riis.
Tinkov’s Twitter account is so outrageous that many thought it was a fake, but it appears to be authentic.
The account has more than 135,000 followers, and Tinkov, if it is indeed him, Tweets away with glee in both English and Cyrillic. And he follows only one Twitter account; his own, the link to his Tinkoff Credit Systems Bank.
Tinkov has taken shots at Spanish star Alberto Contador, accusing him of going soft in comments that were widely reported in the Spanish media.
“His [Contador's] salary doesn’t match his performance. Too rich and isn’t hungry, that’s my opinion, and I deserve it. He must work harder,” Tinkov’s posting read.
Last week, Tinkov raised expectations by posting that an announcement is imminent.
“I have now my team. I have good partners,” the posting read. “We will announce soon. Show must go on! All the best to Saxo-Tinkoff riders.”
Tinkov’s split with Riis, meanwhile, has certainly caused headaches for the Dane, who is scrambling to find a new sponsor to help keep together the superstar lineup he built in 2013, with such riders as Michael Rogers, Nicolas Roche, and Roman Kreuziger.
Alberto Contador, according to media reports, has apparently agreed to a pay cut to try to keep the team together for next season.