Oleg Tinkov has launched an extraordinary attack on Alberto Contador, who won two Grand Tours in the colours of the cycling team the Russian entrepreneur sponsored, calling the rider “a piece of Spanish shit.”
Tinkov was replying on Instagram to a comment that said that he should make his peace with the Spaniard, with whom he had a strained relationship especially since former general manager Bjarne Riis left Team Tinkoff in March 2015.
The Russian, who disbanded his team last year, wrote: “Contador is piece of Spanish shit, and never will win anything, [he’s] too old and too evil. Diet made him crazy and greedy.”
Unsurprisingly, Tinkoff’s comments provoked a lot of reaction on Instagram, much of it from supporters of Contador, now with Trek-Segafredo, throwing the insult back at him with the substitution of the word “Russian” for “Spanish.”
Contador joined Team Saxo Bank, as it then was, for the 2011 season, winning the Giro d’Italia that year.
However, he would be stripped of that title, as well as victory in the 2010 Tour de France, as a result of his positive test for clenbuterol.
By the time he returned from his ban in the summer of 2012, Tinkov was co-sponsoring the team.
Contador immediately won the Vuelta, and would win his home Grand Tour again in 2014 – by which time Tinkov had bought the team from Riis – as well as the Giro d’Italia in 2015.
At the start of that season, Team Tinkoff had signed Peter Sagan, who would go on and win the road race at the world championships in September 2015 and retain it a year later, and who clearly got more sympathetic treatment from the team owner than Contador did.
The comment about Contador, incidently, was made on an Instagram post in which Tinkov praised Sagan, whom he said had "just won Milan-San Remo" - although in a very close finish, it turned out that he had been edged out by Team Sky's Michal Kwiatkowski.
Simon joined road.cc as news editor in 2009 and is now the site’s community editor, acting as a link between the team producing the content and our readers. A law and languages graduate, published translator and former retail analyst, he has reported on issues as diverse as cycling-related court cases, anti-doping investigations, the latest developments in the bike industry and the sport’s biggest races. Now back in London full-time after 15 years living in Oxford and Cambridge, he loves cycling along the Thames but misses having his former riding buddy, Elodie the miniature schnauzer, in the basket in front of him.