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Ex-cycling team boss Oleg Tinkov renounces Russian citizenship over Ukraine war

The billionaire banker, who has been an outspoken critic of the invasion, bought the self-named Tinkoff-Saxo team at the end of the 2013 season, winning the 2014 Vuelta a España and 2015 Giro d'Italia with Alberto Contador...

Former WorldTour team owner Oleg Tinkov has renounced his Russian citizenship over the Ukraine war, saying he "won't be associated with a fascist country".

Tinkov — a billionaire banker who was involved in professional cycling from 2005 to 2016, best known for his Tinkoff cycling team for whom Alberto Contador won two Grand Tours — has previously been critical of the war and yesterday confirmed he would be "ending" his Russian citizenship.

"I have taken the decision to exit my Russian citizenship. I can't and won't be associated with a fascist country that started a war with their peaceful neighbour and [is] killing innocent people daily," he explained on Instagram, sharing a picture of a certificate confirming his citizenship renouncement.

"I hope more prominent Russian businessmen will follow me, so it weakens Putin's regime and his economy, and put him eventually to defeat.

"I hate Putin's Russia, but love all Russians, who are clearly against this crazy war!"

The post has since "disappeared", Tinkov blaming the "Kremlin's trolls" in a new upload which also revealed he plans to legally remove the Tinkoff name from Tinkoff Bank, the company he founded but eventually quit as CEO from.

Tinkov has been hit by sanctions imposed following the start of the conflict in late February and has been an outspoken critic of the war, previously calling it "insane" and a "massacre".

Back in April, Tinkov again took to Instagram, writing: "I don't see a single beneficiary of this insane war! Innocent people and soldiers are dying.

"Waking up with a hangover, the generals realised that they have a shit army. And how will the army be good, if everything else in the country is shitty and mired in nepotism, sycophancy and servility?"

Forbes estimated that the businessman, who founded the online Tinkoff Bank of 20 million customers, may have even lost his billionaire status due to the sanctions imposed by world leaders.

In 2020, Tinkov was arrested in London on charges of tax evasion in the United States, released on bail, and has since quit as CEO of Tinkoff Bank and also been treated for leukaemia. 

Last October he pleaded guilty to tax fraud and was fined $500 million.

Oleg Tinkov and Bjarne Riis (source Tinkoff-Saxo on Facebook)

By that time, Tinkov's involvement in professional cycling had long since passed, the colourful owner stepping away from the sport at the end of 2016, having funded Contador's 2014 Vuelta a España and 2015 Giro d'Italia wins.

 > "F*ck all of them!" Oleg Tinkov to walk away from cycling at end of 2016

Another headline-making moment from his memorable involvement was the million-euro challenge to Contador, Vincenzo Nibali, Chris Froome and Nairo Quintana to ride all three Grand Tours in 2015.

oleg tinkov at giro 2015 - wikimedia commons

Ultimately, the grand showdown never materialised, Contador winning the Giro unopposed by the other three before Froome beat all three to the Tour de France, and only Quintana completed the Vuelta, finishing fourth behind new winner Fabio Aru.

Dan joined road.cc in 2020, and spent most of his first year (hopefully) keeping you entertained on the live blog. At the start of 2022 he took on the role of news editor. Before joining road.cc, Dan wrote about various sports, including football and boxing for the Daily Express, and covered the weird and wonderful world of non-league football for The Non-League Paper. Part of the generation inspired by the 2012 Olympics, Dan has been 'enjoying' life on two wheels ever since and spends his weekends making bonk-induced trips to the petrol stations of the south of England.

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6 comments

Avatar
HarrogateSpa | 1 year ago
0 likes

I remember Tinkov renouncing US citizenship, now Russian.

I wonder what citizenship he still has. Or should I notify Theresa May that he is a Citizen of Nowhere?

Avatar
SlowOldSteve | 1 year ago
2 likes

How long before he "falls" from a balcony, flights of steps or a boat?

Or will a KGB close pass get him!

Avatar
Glov Zaroff replied to SlowOldSteve | 1 year ago
0 likes

SlowOldSteve wrote:

How long before he "falls" from a balcony, flights of steps or a boat?

Or will a KGB close pass get him!

[pedant mode ON] The KGB were disbanded over 30 years ago. It's the FSB now. [pedant mode OFF] 

Avatar
mark1a replied to Glov Zaroff | 1 year ago
4 likes

Glov Zaroff wrote:

[pedant mode ON] The KGB were disbanded rebranded over 30 years ago. It's the FSB now. [pedant mode OFF] 

FTFY

Avatar
Rik Mayals unde... replied to SlowOldSteve | 1 year ago
1 like

Polonium. Nuff said.

Avatar
SlowOldSteve replied to Rik Mayals underpants | 1 year ago
1 like

I'm certainly not touching door knobs or using perfume sprays for while after my posting! Even if I did get their name wrong. 

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