Oleg Tinkov rose to prominence through his beer-brewing business and was a very vocal dissenter against the team that he partly funds, Saxo-Tinkhoff, during the Tour de France.
Alberto Contador, the star rider for the team, was the focus of the majority of Tinkov’s ire. Disappointed with the Spaniard’s showing at the Tour, the Russian banking magnate tweeted: “His salary doesn’t match his performance. Too rich and isn’t hungry, that’s my opinion, and I deserve it. He must work harder.”
Now, Tinkov has decided to break off all ties with the team. Saxo-Tinkoff owner Bjarne Riis announced on Thursday that he is seeking a new co-sponsor after Tinkov stated he would withdraw his patronage of the team, which has the highest budget on the UCI Pro Tour.
Contador said after the Tour that he would not defend his title at the Vuelta a España next month in order to better prepare for next season.
The Spanish double Tour-winner returned from a doping ban in August of last year and went on to win the Vuelta. But he has struggled for form this season, his only stage win coming in the Tour of San Luis in Argentina in January.
“From January 2014, we will start to build our own cycling team, Tinkoff Credit Systems. This will be [a] big project with five years’ commitment,” Tinkov said. “I want to have some control of the team, I don’t want to just be the sponsor.”