Oleg Tinkov concedes his Grand Tour Challenge may not materialise in 2015

Oleg Tinkov faces lack of interest for his €1m Grand Tour Challenge, and now doubts it will take place in 2015

Vincenzo Nibali and Alberto Contador on stage six of the 2014 Tour de FRance
(Image credit: Graham Watson)

Russian Oleg Tinkov, owner team Tinkoff-Saxo, doubts his challenge to get the four top stage racers in all three Grand Tours will succeed in 2015 after they have shown a lack of interest.

"For me, the sooner it happens the better it is," Tinkov told Sky Sports. "For the next year it may be hard."

Tinkov offered €1m or £795,000 to Chris Froome (Sky), Vincenzo Nibali (Astana), Nairo Quintana (Movistar) and his rider Alberto Contador if they race the Grand Tours – the Giro d'Italia, the Tour de France and the Vuelta a España – next season. They could split the money in four or allow the winner to take it all.

Only Contador showed interest. The other three have other plans or have show little interest in Tinkoff's challenge. 2014 Giro winner Quintana said yesterday that he will race the Tour and Vuelta in 2015.

"There's little chance of all four riders being present," Quintana said. "I could do it, though."

2014 Tour winner Nibali told Italy's Tutto Bici, "Fitting in three Grand Tours would not be humane." He is reportedly going to skip the Giro and race the Tour next season.

Froome, who is due to return to the Tour, explained that even racing two Grand Tours back to back is tough.

Domestiques sometimes race all three races with Adam Hansen (Lotto-Belisol) holding a record. With the Vuelta a España this year, he completed 10 consecutive Grand Tours.

Hansen told Cycling Weekly that doing so means that you have to skip other races. If the stars missed smaller stage races then those organisers would likely complain.

The managers of the four teams will reportedly talk about Tinkov's challenge on Wednesday at the 2015 Tour de France in Paris. Tinkov already accepts that he will have to put it off until 2016 or downsize for 2015.

"It's hard but they are getting a lot of money. They get a big pay cheque. They have to work for that salary," Tinkov said.

"I think it would be a huge victory if next year all four of them would start the Giro and Tour double. Let's start with the double this year and see how it evolves."

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Gregor Brown

Gregor Brown is an experienced cycling journalist, based in Florence, Italy. He has covered races all over the world for over a decade - following the Giro, Tour de France, and every major race since 2006. His love of cycling began with freestyle and BMX, before the 1998 Tour de France led him to a deep appreciation of the road racing season.