The gregarious Oleg Tinkov is prepared to pay Alberto Contador and his closest rivals, €1 million if they are willing to compete in all three Grand Tours in 2015.
Tinkov made his intentions known at yesterday’s Giro d’Italia presentation in Milan, after Contador confirmed his role in next year’s Italian Tour.
Indeed, the Russian businessman believes that the best riders should go head to head in the 2015 three Grand Tours.
Initially, Tinkov delivered his call to action via twitter, but now he’s formally backed his offer with a pledge of money.
"If Quintana, Froome, Nibali and Contador all agree to ride all three Grand Tours, I’ll get Tinkoff Bank to put up €1 million. They can have €250,000 each as an extra incentive. I think it’s a good idea," Tinkov told the media.
"It’s good that Alberto is going for the Giro-Tour double but I think the biggest and best riders should race against each other and ride all three Grand Tours."
After the Giro presentation, Tinkov said he liked the lay-out of next year’s race – indicating that the overall nature of the route makes it feasible for riders to target a Giro d’Italia – Tour de France feat.
"I think it’s actually the easiest route we’ve seen for many years. I think it’s a good Giro route for us and for Alberto because he wants to do the double," Tinkov said.
"If Alberto has the form he had this year, then I think he can do the double. If he has the form he had in 2013, then maybe not. But I hope he will have the same form."
"Some people didn’t like it when I said I was convinced that Alberto would have won the Tour de France without his crash but I think he proved it would have true by the way he won the Vuelta. He was only 75% on form and he suffered a cracked leg."
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