After two weeks of floating his grandiose offer of €1 million for any big name rider to participate in all three Grand Tours next year, Oleg Tinkoff is now in the opinion that the possibility of actually getting anyone to commit – is unlikely.
The gregarious Russian businessman, has now turn his focus toward attracting riders to ride a Giro -Tour double as a more realistic goal.
“I think it would be a huge victory if next year all four of them would start the Giro and Tour double,” Tinkov told Sky Sports News. “Alberto Contador has already confirmed, so why don’t Chris Froome, Nairo Quintana and Vincenzo Nibali join him? That would be good. Let’s start with the double this year and see how it evolves.
“For me, the sooner it happens the better it is. For the next year it may be hard.”
Earlier this month, Contador announced his intentions to tackle the Giro-Tour double for the second time in his career – sparking Tinkov to challenge the Spanish rider to attempt all three Grand Tours to the tune of a €1 million reward. Few riders have ever targeted the general classification in all three races during a single season, but Tinkov believes it is not beyond the top riders to do so.
“It’s hard but they are getting a lot of money, those guys. They get a big pay cheque. They are paid almost like good football players. They have a good salary and they have to work for that salary,” he said.
However, as of recent, Tinkov admits that given the sport’s current calendar format, the challenge might be too difficult.
“It will require the organizers to make concessions. It will take a a less harsh and long Giro and Vuelta. The Giro is the craziest race,” he said. “It’s much too hard to do Giro and Tour double. And maybe the Tour de France will also have to be shortened. So much for the French arrogance…"
Tinkov’s challenge has been met with a mixed reactions from several high profile members of the sport. For example, last week, Carlos Sastre and Stephen Roche both expressed the difficulties riders would face – attempting all three Grand Tours.
Sastre agreed with the notion, that the races would need to be shortened, while Roche said that it would detract from the importance of winning a Grand Tour.
In addition, FDJ.fr’s team doctor, Gérard Guillaume, was heavily critical of the plan.
“This is a provocation for money, a clear incitement to doping. If it is to see a zombie, a genetically programmed guy win all three Grand Tours, it has no interest.”
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