Tinkoff-Saxo owner Oleg Tinkov has warned that his future involvement in professional cycling is threatened by a worsening Russian economy.
7 Apr 2015 - 5:20 PM  UPDATED 13 Apr 2015 - 3:35 PM

In a Bloomberg interview Tinkov weighed in on the effect American and European sanctions are having on a resource dependent Russian economy, struggling with a falling oil price.

More specifically he talked about the impact on his business and the possibility that he may have to let go of his ownership of the Tinkoff-Saxo squad should the economic situation in Russia worsen.

Tinkov would not be alone in this, the Katusha team would be similarly affected and presumably all of Russian cycling.

Tinkov's comments are obvious and highlight how tenuous the economics of professional cycling really are. Outside of the branding calculation it is unlikely the team offers any serious return on investment.

The team is largely a personal plaything. The reality is that even when supported by someone as passionate for the sport as he is, there are limits to how long anyone can carry the burden in a failing economy.

Still, as Tinkov said on Twitter, he's not leaving just yet, and it looks like he'll take a particular delight in tormenting Team Sky through the 2015 season.

If cycling did have a permanent franchise model then there would be a concrete business asset for investors like Tinkov to take seriously, something to build and something to sell if the economic times became personally tough. Other pro sports have shown us that there is a market in franchise sales, with valuations increasing yearly.

Cycling fans may have to watch more than the racing in 2015. The Russian economy and falling Rouble may become as important as post race results.