Tinkoff-Saxo has now published an expanded version of the “three Grand Tours in one season” idea floated by its billionaire owner Oleg Tinkov, and even with some extra meat on its bones, it still isn’t a good one for the riders.
If you haven’t been following the story, Tinkov wants an injection of excitement in men’s professional road cycling via head-to-head matchups during the 2015 season with the four best Grand Tour cyclists.
The big four, Alberto Contador (Tinkoff-Saxo), Chris Froome (Sky), Nairo Quintana (Movistar) and Vincenzo Nibali (Astana) would have their pumps primed, so to speak, with an incentive of $363,000 each.
Tinkoff-Saxo owner Oleg Tinkov has continued with his one-man effort to get all of the key Grand Tour contenders to race together in not just one or two of the big races, but all three, adding a $1.4 million incentive for riders to his earlier taunts.
Ok, maybe not exactly a one-man effort. Giro d’Italia organisers are also trying to position their race in such a way as to make a Giro-Tour double doable, with less overall elevation, fewer high mountain stages and shorter transfers. All of which should make recovery for a later Tour de France tilt much easier.
But that just shows many in the sport are already thinking in that direction, which makes Oleg’s million an unnecessary distraction. There are better ways for him to make a lasting impact in cycling than throwing money where it isn’t needed.
With the news of a second positive anti-doping test at Astana it’s time for Alexandr Vinokurov to man-up for once in his life and take a hit for the sake of the sport.
To lose one Iglinskiy to a doping positive is unfortunate for team Astana, to lose a second in less than a month is nothing less than embarrassing. For Vino, Kazakhstan and the sport.
At risk of presuming guilt before the B-sample is tested, I'll press on because it's unlikely that Maxim Iglinskiy's A-sample is a rogue result. The technology is good and so is the science of sampling.
One of the big problems in professional cycling is that we don’t get to see the best Grand Tour riders in the world ride head-to-head often enough.
Tinkoff-Saxo’s owner Oleg Tinkov wants to change that and so too does the International Cycling Union (UCI) with its long term plan to rejig the World Tour calendar.
"We proposed in an very informal way to the other teams. We believe the best riders should go up against each other in the biggest stage races in the calendar, it seems logical to us," Tinkoff-Saxo general manager Stefano Feltrin told Cyclingnews.
The hype is building and if it all goes to plan Jens Voigt will be the new holder of the world hour record on Friday morning.
After a long career which includes 17 Tours de France, the 42-year-old German should leave professional cycling with a bang.
Voigt is if nothing a very determined character and the ‘hour’ record, set in 2005 and which currently stands at 49.7km, would receive a boost of recognition if he were to take it from today’s holder, Czech Ondrej Sosenka.