Russian businessman and owner of the Tinkoff team Oleg Tinkov answers his social media critics

Oleg Tinkov has said that he doesn’t regret anything he says via Twitter, although he admits that paying close attention to his Twitter account is not an ‘intelligent decision’.

Tinkov’s comments come a day after used Twitter to threaten to pull sponsorship from his Tinkoff team for not winning, and after questioning the Cannondale sponsorship deal of rival manager Jonathan Vaughters.

After sponsoring a cycling team for years, Tinkov bought the WorldTour team in December 2013. Over those years, he has caused has controversy in Twitter. Last summer, he even went as far as making a racial comment about US President Barack Obama.

>>> It looks like Jonathan Vaughters came out on top in a Twitter spat with Oleg Tinkov

Tinkov stood in his bicycle kit at the Tinkoff bus this morning head of the Tirreno-Adriatico stage start in Camaiore, Italy. Last year at the same start, Tinkov famously argued with former team manager Bjarne Riis. Later that March, he fired him from the team.

“I don’t think about [my Twitter posts]. Regrets? No, I don’t,” Tinkov told Cycling Weekly.

“You journalists, stupid journalists, like yourself probably, you pay attention to the Twitter. If you are intelligent, you shouldn’t pay attention. And I don’t Tweet that much recently, for a couple of months I haven’t tweeted about cycling at all. Now, I did two Tweets, and if that’s the only question you come and ask. I feel sorry for you. That’s very shallow.”

Oleg Tinkov (right) with Alberto Contador

Oleg Tinkov (right) with Alberto Contador

Tinkov, however, caught the attention of Vaughters with his comment on Twitter. He wrote, “@Vaughters do you agree with the glasses finally. I heard that you’re loosing [sic] Cannondale as a sponsor, pity, dude”

Vaughters replied, “@olegtinkov glasses are total garbage. Your info on Cannondale is garbage. And we have a new second sponsor to be announced soon!”


“What sort of a jack ass tries to undermine a sponsorship and create false uncertainty on Twitter? @olegtinkov that’s who.”

“What about Jonathan Vaughters?” Tinkov said today. “He started mentioning me for no reason, some Tweets in the fall, and now I just find the time now to respond to him.

>>> Opinion: Oleg Tinkov and cycling – the end of an uneasy relationship?

“He said that I used the wrong glasses for Burgundy, which is weird. The wine that I was drinking he’d never have in his cellar, so it’d be weird for him to make a recommendation for glasses.”

Vaughters studies wine and counts around 600 bottles of wine in his cellar. “Yeah. That’s the kind of wine that I won’t drink,” Tinkov added. “That’s shitty wine.”

When seeing Tinkov’s comments today, Vaughters told Cycling Weekly, “I don’t even know what to say to that.”

Oleg Tinkov

Oleg Tinkov

Tinkov also wrote that he would stop sponsoring his team if they lost the Tirreno-Adriatico team time trial. They finished fourth, 11 seconds behind winner BMC Racing. It may not have mattered because Tinkov announced in December that he would leave cycling at the end of 2016.

He wrote, “If @petosagan and @tinkoff_team won’t win tomorrow’s TTT near my villa, I’ll stop sponsor them and start @MariaSharapova!”



“I always have entertaining Tweets for someone,” Tinkov continued while his riders stepped out of the bus. “According to the contract, I can’t stop sponsoring during the season, so that’s obvious. They love it, especially Maciej Bodnar, he says, ‘You’re great on Twitter’.”

Bodnar walked by and climbed on his bike for the start. When asked about Tinkov’s comments, he said, “I didn’t see these Tweets. Oleg is a funny guy, what can I say?”

“I think he will stop after today, he’s just put it in the bin,” Adam Blythe said with a laugh. “I think he’s going to sponsor Maria Sharapova, so we are all f***ed!

“It doesn’t bother me. It’s nothing to do with me, it’s just him. He’s a bit of a character. It’s just like a good atmosphere when he is here with the team. He’s not just on the sidelines, but there on the bus giving everyone a hug there before the stage. He’s mad for the sport, just a bit bonkers, but in good ways.”

  • David Bassett

    Shane if you ever want to get intuch, gust go on to this thread thing, I will be happy to reply.

  • Shane in Wonderland

    David, I will close our “thread”, as they say, by expressing a heartfelt thank you for sticking with me here. Your last post of personal experience and humble perspective is hauntingly appropriate for our cyber introduction. Yes Sir, I will be watching for you here on CW. I will look forward to your rantings. Be Safe David, Bye for Now…Shane Fitzmaurice.

  • David Bassett

    Shane this will be brief as I am sat outside in the cold in northern India getting Wi-Fi. The greatest week of my life was working as the driver for the race doctor at the Parra Olympics in London. I enjoyed that ten times more than being on the so called “Proper Olympic” road race. We were up close and personal with all the competitors for a full week. It put my life into prospective and even though I new I am a very lucky chap, I went home knowing how lucky I am and how proud I am of those incredible real athletes. I did not hear one single complaint and actually witnessed one of the British girl backing off to make sure her team mate got the Bronze medal, because her team mate had not had a meal and she had.
    Keep in touch, if you see me ranting about something, I don’t min being put in my place.

  • Shane in Wonderland

    David, thank you, very kind and informative response. My lack of true insight regarding pro cycling comes from the fact I am nothing more than a fan. I began taking interest around 1978 give or take a few minutes. Limited to print media until just 2015, I am not able to see what you see as a participant, advocate, contributor, and such. As it looks, I have been enjoying all the things you hate, cheaters, corruption, and the wild characters within the sport that make me want to read about it. David, forgive me that I am not a cyclist, I am disabled and my joy comes from following by media some sporting type endeavors, pro road cycling, mountaineering, and such. I was able to read through your old posts using a DISQUS feature on here. You are the real deal, you live it. Grumpy as it may have come about, you put forth a brilliant little learning moment for me. I will be watching your posts Dave, be safe on that bike…sincerely, Shane Fitzmaurice

  • David Bassett

    Shane please do not stop putting your thoughts on CW. I just get a bit defensive of people who put themselves out for our sport. For many years we wold give up our weekends to take kids to races and would end up out of pocket. Only to be repaid when the likes of Steve Cummings wins things like stages in the TdF. Then we get our payment. I do not think that Olig Tinkov is what cycling needs. He is a very successful business man and wants to turn our sport into purely business. Without the people like Brian Cookson who has risen to the top like cream on the top of milk our sport and I am sure loads of other sports would die.
    I would be interested though, how long you have been into cycling. I have been lucky to have ridden a bike for forty years and for most of my working life made my living from the cycle industry.
    Most important thing keep on riding your bike and more so enjoy riding your bike.
    Best wishes
    GOLD grumpy old Liverpool dave

  • Shane in Wonderland

    David Bassett, my name is Shane Fitzmaurice. You are correct Sir, on all counts. I am new to the internet. I am 52 years old, I was given a laptop computer as a gift. I look at world news and bicycle websites. I love CW and I have been watching people post things and I wanted to try it, not certain why. Clearly I should not. Truly I know little of Brian Cookson history. So, your comment is well accepted, My appologies, sincerely. I have done many things that are not bad mouthing and yet my very first web post has made an appearance of other sorts. I would like to continue to watch CW, I will not post, Best Wishes, Shane..

  • David Bassett

    I hope you can find another sort to grace your presence with. People who can not put there real name to what the put on the site to me are hiding in wonderland. It is easy to criticise the likes of Cookson, but at least he has spent many years (and a lot of them unpaid) giving his best to our sport. Have you ever done anything other than bad mouth people who at least have a go.

  • Shane in Wonderland

    very poor comment removed by Shane Fitzmaurice. My sincere apology to those CW patrons who may have seen it.

  • Liz Miller

    I started to read this, then realised I had more to do with my time than spend it reading about such a person

  • David Kerry

    Oleg tinkov. This is the man who says cycling needs to clean up its act and banish drug cheats yet last year he seemed to think Alberto contador was capable of winning the giro and tour in the same year.. Dosent he realise the Last man to do this was marco pantani and we all know how he achieved that feat..