The Joker: Oleg Tinkov
I go back and forth on my opinion of Oleg Tinkov. He has no filter and says whatever he wants with zero fucks given, his Twitter feed is a stream of consciousness look into the mind of a madman. That, I like. I don’t always agree with what he says but generally I think he is right when it comes to the UCI, ASO, WADA, etc. Pro cycling is run by a corrupt old boy network who really only care about making as much money as they can for themselves and very little about doing what is right for the sport. In his Cyclingnews blog he states:
I’m ready to boycott the 2016 Tour de France to make them understand that things have to change. It’s not such a big deal. Similar things happen in other sports, players have gone on strike in the NBA or the NHL hockey league. I can afford not to go to the Tour de France for a year if all the teams agree not to go too. Of course it would hurt the fans in the short term but it benefits the sport as a whole in the long term. Otherwise we will continue to struggle.
I think Velon is a step in the right direction. Yes their goal is to make as much money as they can for themselves which puts them at odds with the UCI, ASO, etc. They do have a point though and it would provide some checks and balances. It is crazy that teams have no revenue share with the ASO. We are lucky that cycling inspires such passion that otherwise smart businessmen like Tinvok or Andy Rihs are willing to pour money into a sport that pays them little if anything. Can you imagine the Golden State Warriors not playing next season because they lost their sponsor? Pro cycling has to evolve so that real sponsor money comes in. The riders need a union and they should make a lot more then they do. Peter Sagan makes around $4 million a year. To earn that he trains 50 weeks a year. Maintains single digit body fat. Has to be available for drug testing 24/7. Spends enormous amounts of time living in hotels. Risks his life on every training ride/race.The average Major League Baseball player makes $4 million a year. Barely trains. Can be fat and have a designated runner for the less than 20% of the time they actually hit the ball (which is 100% more than I could actually hit one). Takes whatever PED’s they want and even if he gets caught will miss like 4 games.
All I can say is go Oleg.