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.
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.”
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.
“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.”
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.”