Brailsford intrigued by Tinkov idea


Published: Thursday 9th October 2014 by The News Editor

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Sir Dave Brailsford is open to the idea of a showdown between the best cyclists on the planet, but stopped short of accepting Oleg Tinkov’s challenge for the four best riders to contest all three Grand Tours in 2015 for one million euros.

The eccentric Russian would like to see Alberto Contador, who rides for his Tinkoff-Saxo squad, Team Sky’s Chris Froome, Astana’s Vincenzo Nibali and Nairo Quintana of Movistar race in the Giro d’Italia, Tour de France and Vuelta a Espana in the same year.

The one million euros (£788,966) purse could be divided equally, or be awarded as a prize to the rider who places best at the Tours of Italy, France and Spain.

Team Sky principal Brailsford, speaking at the Leaders in Sport conference in London, said: “I like the attitude, I must say. I think we’d all agree that seeing the best riders slug it out across the season at key races is what everybody would want to see.

“If you could bring an added element to it of a bit more of a narrative throughout the season rather than just a one-off race then I think I’d be behind that.

“I think it’s all about getting the best riders racing together in the best and biggest races.”

Many cycling fans are relishing the 2015 Tour de France, where the quartet are expected to meet to contest for the yellow jersey won by Nibali in 2014.

The route of the Giro d’Italia, announced earlier this week, suggested a Giro-Tour double might be possible, but few riders ride three Grand Tours in a calendar year, let alone contest for the overall victory at them.

“From a performance point of view, it’s quite a serious undertaking,” Brailsford added.

“But, from a conceptual point of view, I’m sure from a fan’s point of view, from a sporting point of view, I think it’s got a lot of merit.”

There will be concerns a sport which has endeavoured to tackle the use of performance-enhancing drugs will be leaving itself susceptible to abuse if such a gruelling challenge is contemplated.

Tinkov called for his gruelling idea to be adopted in an interview with Italian newspaper Gazzetta dello Sport and then took to Twitter to ‘call out’ Contador’s rivals publicly, including addressing Brailsford.

Tinkov wrote: “@davebrailsford @chrisfroome @vincenzonibali @NairoQuintana dont be a chiken (sic)! #Real3GTchallenge”

Brailsford will reserve full comment on the suggestion until the Tour de France route is announced in Paris later this month.

“Until we get all the information, it’s going to be a pretty difficult one to judge,” he said.

Published: Thursday 9th October 2014 by The News Editor

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