Tinkoff-Saxo’s owner Oleg Tinkov has taken to twitter to voice his anger at another of his riders being injured by a race motorbike, and has stated that as a result his team could refuse to line up in any Amaury Sports Organisation (ASO) races.
The first incident occurred on stage eight when Peter Sagan was knocked off by a motorbike, injured and then fined by the UCI for his reaction to being taken out. What’s more, it was on a stage where he would have been many people’s pick for the win.
Following the episode, and Sagan’s withdrawal from the race due to the injuries he suffered, the Russian team sent an open letter to Unipublic and the UCI stating five demands. Choicest among them was the request for a charitable donation in lieu of the prize money they expected to receive when, as they believe, Sagan would have won the overall green jersey competition.
On the day the letter went public, Sergio Paulinho was also forced out of the Vuelta after a collision with a motorbike on stage 11. The second incident only added to the team’s argument and further fuelled Tinkov’s conspiracy theories as to who might be behind these occurrences.
Tinkoff-Saxo is a WorldTour team, and as such is obliged to take part in all races of that rank – regardless of the organiser. Whatever happens, Oleg’s collision path with the UCI seems firmly set for the foreseeable future.