Tinkoff team boss Oleg Tinkov hits out at UCI after Ilnur Zakarin is excluded from the Rio 2016 Olympic Games
Russian owner of Team Tinkoff, Oleg Tinkov posted an online tirade against Ilnur Zakarin’s exclusion from the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio on Saturday, saying that it is ‘unjust’ and calling the Union Cycliste Internationale (UCI) a ‘bunch of bureaucratic idiots’ for allowing the exclusion.
“Zakarin can’t go to #Rio but [Alejandro] Valverde and others who been caught on doping can?” said Tinkov via his Instagram account.
“If this is not political revenge on Russia, what is it? It show[s] again how stupid and impotent that f**king #UCI. Just bunch of bureaucratic idiots.”
Tinkov was commenting on the recent decision by the International Olympic Committee (IOC) that Russian athletes cannot compete at the 2016 Games if they have previously been sanctioned for doping. Athletes from other nations that have previously failed an anti-doping test can participate.
The IOC’s decision was made in light of the McLaren report, which found evidence of widespread organised doping and cover-ups in Russian sport.
Individual sports federations have been handed the responsibility to select which Russian athletes compete in the Games, which then have to be approved by a Court of Arbitration for Sport arbitrator.
Russian rider Zakarin currently competes for Russian-based team Katusha. He tested positive for banned steroid methandienone and was suspended in 2009.
Tinkov has had a long-running spat with the UCI over his perception that the organisation has failed to move the sport forward, particularly from a commercial aspect. He has previously cited this as the main reason that he is leaving team sponsorship at the end of the 2016 season, when Tinkoff will disband.
In the case of Zakarin’s exclusion from the Rio Games, the UCI must follow the IOC’s ruling.
This season, Zakarin won a stage of the 2016 Tour de France, and placed fourth overall at Paris-Nice after winning a stage. Russia will be represented at the 2016 Olympics by Sergei Chernetckii and Pavel Kochetkov.