The veteran French rider took exception to the oligarch's comments on Twitter

Never one to shy away from a debate, or indeed from tweeting about one prolifically, Oleg Tinkov has earned the scorn of Thomas Voeckler with his latest thoughts on reforming cycling’s WorldTour.

The Russian’s outpouring was originally concerned with sponsors withdrawing from professional cycling due to the unfavourable conditions of the business, and on this he had ideas for reform. Chief among his plans were a new transfer system and salary cap for teams, a system to manoeuvre around the UCI and more financial input from race organisers.

Tinkov called on Velon, the organisation of cycling teams that aims to “create a new economic future” for cycling, to team up with race organisers, namely the Tour de France’s owner ASO, to create a rival to the UCI’s WorldTour.

So far, nothing we haven’t heard before. But following this, Tinkov directed his comments towards ASO’s Christian Prudhomme.

Then took encouragement from his social media audience with a new idea to buy up enough teams to create his own Grand Tour.

It wasn’t until Tinkov called himself King Oleg that Voeckler waded in.

Voeckler’s dislike for what he’d read was clear to see, but Tinkov had to have to last word.

Tinkov is known for being outspoken, previously threatening to cut an under-performing Peter Sagan’s salary, offering top riders €1m to ride all three Grand Tours and for the departure of team manager Bjarn Riis.

  • RobTM

    If men’s World Tour team is costing Tinkov too much, he should back women’s cycling instead. May be sponser a decent race with big prizes, and then he can re-purpose Peter Sagan as a podium boy 😉

  • bluelena69

    I get where Tinkov is coming from. He doesn’t particularly exhibit the most diplomatic means of getting his point across. I took his original comments to be squarely centered on the outsized influence France has on professional cycling, and the reasons why this may not be the best idea in these times. Why he felt that it was necessary to call out the quality of French riders in making his point, I don’t know…

    And I agree with his main point. Things need to change and they won’t and cannot change if people like Prudhomme are walking around acting like their crap doesn’t stink and refusing to be civil. Apparently, Prudhomme is upset with Tinkov’s calls for change–something the French (or the powers that be in French cycling such as the ASO) don’t particularly want. Tinkov is pissed as Prudhomme refused to acknowledge his presence during the whole of the TdF. This is screwed up. Do I find Tinkov to be somewhat abrasive? Certainly. Would I likely want to avoid him because of this? Maybe. However, Prudhomme cannot do things like this. He is paid to deal with everyone and his position dictates that he be civil to everyone.

    That said, I can certainly see where Voeckler is upset and I would hope that he is simply upset over this and this isn’t a sign of a destructive pissing match that would be bad for the sport that DOES need to change, as Tinkov says.

  • Stevie

    Yeah. A twatter spit. Cyclingweekly knows where the real news is.