Team Tinkoff Saxo CEO insists Oleg Tinkov did not veto signing of Samuel Sanchez
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Friday, December 27, 2013

Team Tinkoff Saxo CEO insists Oleg Tinkov did not veto signing of Samuel Sanchez

by Shane Stokes at 5:08 PM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling
 
Feltrin states that no contract was ever agreed, and that team roster has been finalized

Samuel SanchezCountering a recent Spanish media report that team owner Oleg Tinkov blocked the move of Samuel Sanchez to the Tinkoff Saxo squad, that team’s CEO Stefano Feltrin has said that the Russian was not involved in the matter and that no formal offer had ever been made to the former Olympic champion.

“We said very clearly that the team is run by Bjarne [Riis] in relation to everything to do with the sports side. Oleg said in the press conference [announcing the team’s change of ownership – ed.] that he is not interfering,” Feltrin told VeloNation today. “I understand that Samuel Sanchez may have said differently, but it not accurate. Oleg Tinkov never put a veto on anyone.”

El Pais reported earlier this month that Sanchez had signed with a WorldTour team and the identity of that squad would be confirmed in the new year.

It didn’t name Tinkoff Saxo at the time but did so earlier this week, stating that Sanchez had expected to move to that squad but the deal had fallen through.

It cited three reasons; the purchase of the squad by Tinkov, the relative lack of Russian riders in the lineup [currently there are just three for 2014, namely Evgeni Petrov and the incoming duo of Ivan Rovny and Nikolai Trussov], plus the Clenbuterol positive of Michael Rogers and a related unease with older riders.

However Feltrin said today that there was never an agreement after Tinkov took over ownership on December 2nd. “It is unfortunate for him [Sanchez] that he doesn’t have a contract. I can only comment on things from after we were involved. From the time of our involvement in the negotiation to purchase the team, we were told they were discussing if there was a possibility to do something with him.

“As far as I know we never made an offer to him, no formal undertaking or commitment. It is true that the team and he had some conversations, but it is a long shot from that to say the team rescinded a contract.”

The news would appear to free up a slot, but Feltrin said that there are no plans to take anyone else on board.

“The team has received countless proposals and requests. Riders, soigneurs, media and many others put in requests to become part of the team.

“When we became active [when Tinkov took over ownership – ed.], the team roster was already complete. Although we announced the riders at a later point, we knew we had all the riders in place. There was no intention to have anyone else on board, unless there was some unforeseeable event such as this with Rogers.”

Feltrin was referring to the Clenbuterol positive of Michael Rogers, as was announced last week. The Australian has denied every knowingly consuming the product and has said it is a likely case of food contamination. He rode the Tour of Beijing in China prior to winning the Japan Cup, where he tested positive.

“That situation might change things, but if he is cleared to race – as we all hope – we don’t see that we will add anyone else in 2014,” Feltrin clarified.

“We said that 2014 would be a transition year as we came on board quite late in the year. We are not willing to change things much in the short period of time. In the longer term, we will be able to properly assess things. We will make changes over time, but there is no rush.

“Right now, the important point is that Oleg Tinkov did not veto anybody, and we don’t foresee adding anyone else to the team. We’ve received a lot of offers from all types of riders, but we are not looking to sign anyone else.”

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