Tinkov narrows down list of possible team projects for 2014, no agreement yet with Riis or any other owner
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Monday, November 25, 2013

Tinkov narrows down list of possible team projects for 2014, no agreement yet with Riis or any other owner

by Shane Stokes at 5:50 AM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling
 
Russian rules out some proposals, final decision coming soon

Oleg TinkoffThree weeks after confirming that Oleg Tinkov was considering several proposals from teams in relation to his backing for 2014, his spokesman has said that the Russian billionaire is moving closer to making a final decision on the matter.

On Saturday Tinkov tweeted a photo of Alberto Contador and Michael Morkov in Gran Canaria, the shot showing the two Team Saxo Tinkoff riders taking a break while training on the island.

“Conta is getting ready to kick ass of Froome))) and I am behind it YET,” he wrote.

Contacted by VeloNation for clarification about the use of the word ‘yet’, spokesman Stefano Feltrin explained that the message didn’t imply the current backing would continue into 2014.

“I spoke with Oleg and asked him about the tweet: he meant "still" as he is the team' sponsor until December 31st and wanted to voice his support to the riders,” he stated.

“There is not any agreement for 2014 and beyond with Riis' team nor with any other. Lately we have declined some of the proposals we received and at present we are focusing on a very short list of possible projects.”

He did not elaborate on which teams were still in the running, and declined to say if Team Saxo Tinkoff remained one of those.. However the final outcome of those talks should be reached in the next fortnight, and a team name – if an agreement is reached – will be disclosed after that point.

“I believe we should finalize - or finally disengage - a decision during first week on December,” he stated.

Fluctuating relationship with Team Saxo Tinkoff:

Tinkov came on board as second title sponsor to Bjarne Riis’s team in June 2012, with his backing changing the name to Team Saxo Tinkoff. Alberto Contador won the Vuelta a España in the new colours, but Tinkov was unhappy with his relative lack of form in this year’s Tour de France.

He expressed frustration that Contador couldn’t match up to Chris Froome in the race, and said after he finished fourth that he was overpaid and didn’t train hard enough.

This inevitably made relations more difficult and, on July 25th both sides announced that the partnership would not continue past the end of the year.

More recently there have been indications that this might change, with La Gazzetta dello Sport reporting on November 3rd that Tinkov had bought the team from Riis for a sum close to seven million euro. Feltrin told VeloNation the same day that the story was not accurate, but said that Riis’ squad was one of those in contention for an agreement.

“After the end of our negotiation with Cannondale we have received several proposals - from existing teams and new projects - and we are working on them,” he said then. “Oleg’s relationship with Riis has been always ongoing - as he is, among other things, still his current sponsor.”

It is thought that Tinkov wants to take over ownership of a team for 2014, with the Russian no longer willing to be a sponsor alone.

Although Riis has long been the owner of Team Saxo Tinkoff, La Gazzetta dello Sport has suggested that the investigation of him by Anti Doping Denmark could lead to a sale. In that case it is possible that he could stay on as a team manager.

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