Yesterday Tinkof-Saxo team owner Oleg Tinkov put his money where is mouth and large twitter following are.
The Russian business tycoon is prepared to offer €1 million to Alberto Contador and his Grand Tour rivals if they compete in all three Grand Tours in 2015.
His star rider Contador has already stated his intention to attempt a Giro d’Italia-Tour de France double. However, Tinkov wants to up the stakes significantly with Contador, Sky’s Chris Froome, Astana’s Vincenzo Nibali and Movistar’s Nairo Quintana going head to head in all three Grand Tours.
Today, Tinkov released further details of his financial proposal. Besides the €1 million on the table for the top four superstars, Tinkov also has a sliding incentive scale for riders who finished the 2014 Tour de France in the top ten.
“I’ve got €100,000 for all those guys — Valverde, Konig, Pinot, Bardet, Ten Dam –even Péraud who is an old guy and probably isn’t worth the expense,” said Tinkov. “I want a spectacle so I’ve got to get all of them to commit, too. This will really spice things up.”
According to at least one source, Tinkov is thinking about the possibility of a “pay per attack” bonus system for all three grand tours. The idea being to inject even more drama into the proceedings. “There are too many conservative, chicken-shit tactics and not enough panache — the unpredictable act of aggression that lights up the festivities,” said Tinkov. “I need things to tweet about during the race.”
That scenario gained even more plausibility with news that French star Thomas Voeckler has apparently called Tinkov about the “breakaway” bonuses. There is even the potential for creating a breakaway all-star cast to enliven the race.
While Tinkov has stated his belief that the “biggest and best riders should race against each other and ride all three Grand Tours,” he is also interested in incentives to dis-invite what he called the “smallest and least talented” riders.
Tinkov has proposed €5000 euros to the riders who finished at the bottom of the Tour, Giro and Vuelta standings to simply not show up. “These guys clog of the roads and I don’t want Alberto, Froome or Nibali crashing out,” said Tinkov. “I’m not spending €1 million and watching my investment fail because some third rate rider knocks Alberto off the bike. I pay for quality, not quantity.”