Oleg Tinkov says Grand Tour challenge might not happen in 2015 but remains keen on idea
By Orla Chennaoui and Matt Westby
Last Updated: 17/10/14 2:15pm
Oleg Tinkov has conceded it is unlikely his triple Grand Tour challenge will take place next year but hopes Chris Froome, Vincenzo Nibali and Nairo Quintana will join Alberto Contador in riding a Giro d’Italia and Tour de France double.
Tinkov, who owns the Tinkoff-Saxo team, offered the sport’s four leading Grand Tour riders €1million earlier this month to race in all three Grand Tours in 2015, with the money either being split between them or going in its entirety to the rider with the best cumulative result.
The idea was backed by Team Sky principal Sir Dave Brailsford, but Nibali, who won this year’s Tour, has ruled himself out due to fears the challenge would “not be humane”.
There has also been concern about the impact it would have on smaller stage races, and while Tinkov accepts the challenge is unlikely to be taken up next year, he remains keen to see it happen.
Speaking exclusively to Sky Sports News HQ, the Russian said: “For me, the sooner it happens the better it is. For the next year it may be hard.
“I think it would be a huge victory if next year all four of them would start the Giro and Tour double. 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.”
Next year, the Giro will take place from May 9-31, with the Tour following from July 4-26 and the final Grand Tour, the Vuelta a Espana, being held from August 22 to September 13.
It’s hard but they are getting a lot of money, those guys. They have a good salary and they have to work for that salary.
Tinkov’s thinking behind the triple challenge idea is to make cycling more appealing by having all of the best riders in the world take part in all of the biggest races.
'Big pay cheque'
Contador, who rides for Tinkoff-Saxo, appears to be the most willing of the quartet to take part, having already announced that he will ride the Giro and Tour next year, while according to Spanish media, Quintana has "no problem" with the idea but doubts his Movistar team will allow it.
Froome has yet to voice his opinion but said last month that his 2015 race schedule would only be decided after the Tour route is revealed next Wednesday, with Brailsford having the final say.
Tinkov recognises the challenge would be difficult to achieve but insists it would not be asking too much of the riders.
He added: “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.”