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Alberto Contador Discussion Thread

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18 Apr 2017 10:52

Well the Tour was the first (and only) race Vandborg ever did with Contador so of course he felt like he didn't know him at all compared to Basso and Schleck, with whom he shared teams for multiple years.
Also it seems unfair to blame the fans booing them and Riis' bad temper on Contador (although he was obviously the main reason for it)
Anyway none of this is a surprise to me because Karsten Kroon said something similar about Contador building a cocoon around himself (although he was way more understanding about it than these two appear to be, at least from the way you're describing it) and Bruyneel told a similar story a while ago (but let's not pretend he wasn't to blame as well) but why is it such a big deal :confused: that's what introverts do when they're in a group of people they don't really know at all. It also shows how important it is for Contador to have a team around him with people he knows and trusts.
So even if he isn't the easiest person to work with, none of the above is an excuse for Tinkov's abuse. What if Evans had been his team leader?!

Maybe the best way to judge him is by comparing the people that like him to those that hate him... so if it's people like Scarponi, Roche, Rogers and Basso on one side verse people like Tinkov and Kreuziger on the other... what are we even talking about?
Alberto we love you
on the road
you don't need to say this stuff
we saw you on the road
you blessed us with 9 great shows
let's not argue the toss about the official count
you are much bigger than that
~TourOfSardinia
User avatar LaFlorecita
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Re:

18 Apr 2017 10:57

Escarabajo wrote:Tinkov is an idiot! regardless of what Contador does this year.

Contador still won some good races for him.

wonder why he isn't bashing Sagan and his "6 mil. results" this season so far... i guess he just doesn't like AC much for whatever reason. it's kinda personal imho.
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Re:

18 Apr 2017 10:57

rhubroma wrote:Russian nouveau riche...all that money, zero class. That Dave Brailsford once said he's "got lots of time for Oleg," demonstrates what types of characters propel this sport. At any rate, Tinkov's falling out with another dubious character, Rijs, was the rift that brought his ego in conflict with his star rider. Never a fortuitous occurrence. As far as AC is concerned, his cultural milieu is evidently problematical for the non-Latin riders. I say non-Latin, because he appears to have a strong friendship with Basso.

I'm not sure it's a cultural thing (although it obviously plays a big role) because he seems to have a good relationship with for example Roche (although maybe he is a strange case because he's so French) and of course De Jongh. I'd say it's much more of a personality thing.

Although this reminds me that last year, I worried that the Tour team was lacking South European influence and this would make Alberto less comfortable... people called me paranoid but look what happened :eek:
Alberto we love you
on the road
you don't need to say this stuff
we saw you on the road
you blessed us with 9 great shows
let's not argue the toss about the official count
you are much bigger than that
~TourOfSardinia
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18 Apr 2017 11:07

Just laying it out to contribute with meaningful opinions from the actual peloton who has worked for Contador to get a sense of him as a person and why Tinkov is criticising him so much (well a minor part of that).

How Vandborg described the 2011 Tour wasn't to criticise Contador (more just in general how ****** that race was from Saxo), as you say Contador was obviously indirectly the reason for some of that, but that wasn't aimed at him at all apart from the fact he was/is quick to isolate himself. The things about Riis and the booing was just to underline how bad of a race it actually was, how unpleasant it was and how basically everything wen't wrong. Must have been dreadful for anyone involved..
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Re:

18 Apr 2017 11:11

Valv.Piti wrote:Tinkov is a jerk, but I listened to a Danish podcast yesterday featuring Brian Vandborg who honestly didn't have that much good things to say about Contador apart from the fact that he obviously respects him and enjoys his riding style. He pointed to the fact that he didn't feel he knew him at all (compared to Ivan Basso and Andy Schleck, especially Basso) and he was very annoyed with the fact that something seemingly always was wrong. He also described that 2011 Tour as the worst he ever experience as a bike rider, Contador crashing many times and isolating himself with the Spaniards, Saxo Bank being booed everywhere, Bjarne Riis being a pain in the *** because everything went wrong etc.

Chris Anker has also hinted a few times now that he really didn't enjoy Contador's personality because he failed to integrate himself with the rest of the squad.


Rodgers obviously isn't Spanish and only seemed to have good things to say about Contador. I never heard Porte or Roche say anything bad about him either. Not everyone needs to know someone socially to like them and respect them. Working with them may not be the same but they seemed to have a good working relationship with him. Some people are introverted and don't need to have a lot of friends. 2011 is probably a bad example because everything did go wrong ! Oddly with all of the problems he had in 2011 he still finished the race in the top five but has struggled to do the same since then. 2013 was probably more about his shape than anything else.
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18 Apr 2017 11:15

Yeah, 2011 isn't representative, but it was the only Tour he rode with Contador, thus really the only experience he had working together with him. ;)

I am well aware of it. Just thought I'd put it out there since it seemed relevant for this discussion, just being the messenger here.
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18 Apr 2017 11:29

On the other hand, Michael Valgren only says good things about Contador!
Roche, Gogl, Rodgers, Pires, Bennati, Tossato, Basso...idem

Yeah, if Chris Anker and Vandborg, say he's bad person, then it's true. lol
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Re:

18 Apr 2017 11:32

rei_da_montanha wrote:On the other hand, Michael Valgren only says good things about Contador!
Roche, Gogl, Rodgers, Pires, Bennati, Tossato, Basso...idem

Yeah, if Chris Anker and Vandborg, say he's bad person, then it's true. lol

This is exactly the defensiveness I despite when posting in here.. None said he was a bad person, just that he maybe had a flaw which made it hard for (some) riders to really relate to him. Some obviously didn't, its only natural.
"This is the Tour that will determine If I can drink espresso at the Garda lake the rest of my life"
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18 Apr 2017 11:51

I sure love it when Oleg ruffle's a few feathers
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Re:

18 Apr 2017 13:00

rick james wrote:I sure love it when Oleg ruffle's a few feathers

You support vulgar abuse and bullying behaviour?
Alberto we love you
on the road
you don't need to say this stuff
we saw you on the road
you blessed us with 9 great shows
let's not argue the toss about the official count
you are much bigger than that
~TourOfSardinia
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Re:

18 Apr 2017 13:58

DFA123 wrote:A lot of personal insults towards Tinkov in the last couple of pages here, looks a bit unedifying and I dont think people should lower themselves to his level of language by responding in kind. Would be much more interesting to find out what is his motivation for all this bile.

Tinkov knows Contador personally better than everyone on this forum I guess, so he's in a better position to make character judgements than any of us - positive or negative. And if you look beyond his ridiculous insults, he's obviously very bitter and angry about something Contador did (or perhaps didn't do) - it seems to me from his tweets that he feels Contador didn't integrate himself in the team and remained a bit aloof. Something that would re-inforce the view that the team split last year when Majka and Kreuziger seemed luke-warm in their support towards him. Hopefully, for Contador, he can do this better at Trek and get the team to really buy into his TdF hopes - because with the likes of Degenkolb, Felline, Mollema and possibly Pantano they have riders who may have half an eye or more on their own goals if Contador doesn't lead them 100% effectively.


Sometime early on, Tinkov was complaining on Twitter about Contador being rude to OT's wife at a race. I don't know the exact details, but I got the impression maybe she tried to speak to AC, but he blew her off or just spoke to her only briefly. I had the impression that maybe Contador was just getting ready to race, or had just finished, and she was at the team area and tried to talk to him. Oleg was pissed and complained about it for a while afterwards on Twitter.

Now, understandably OT supports his wife, and I guess he thought of AC as a highly paid employee who needed to show more deference to the boss' family. Whereas AC is the star athlete, and usually those guys are coddled at races and not given any complaints about anything, because it's all about the preparation and mindset for the sporting event at hand. I don't even know if AC knew it was Tinkov's wife or just maybe thought it was another sponsor person.

From the outside looking in, I see two things. One is that Oleg and Alberto are just way different personalities and never going to be best friends, especially when having to spend a lot of time together. They'd probably get along better if they were only acquaintances who only saw each other in small doses on rare occasions. Just two different personality types.

And two, Oleg spent a lot of time at the races, especially stage races. He'd spent his money, and it was his right to be there to embed with his team and enjoy his toy, but it must've weighed on the guys to constantly have to entertain and defer to the boss. Oleg was there a lot, and sometimes brought along other people from his bank for brief visits, etc.

Grand Tours just go on and on, and with crowds and stress and sponsor commitments and press, etc there's plenty to wear a person down outside of the actual racing. Away from family, no free time at all. And Oleg was around at dinner, hanging around the hotel and the bus, etc. It was probably intrusive - doubly so for a person who might be more introverted. When normally a rider would get a chance to decompress after the races turns out to be time to have to take selfies with the boss and sing songs at the dinner table. It was too much.

And that's just coming from OT wanting to hang with the guys, not counting the pressure from Oleg to produce results. I can imagine that Contador may have just tried to shut himself off from Oleg somewhat and that this was resented. After all, Oleg pays his salary and is used to running a business. But a sports team doesn't quite work the same way as regular employees. And Oleg does follow and adore the sport. He probably admired Contador a lot before they actually knew each other personally. So you pay a bunch of money and get disappointed because things didn't turn out like you had hoped.

I think there was resentment from early on, and it sounds from the tweets like it's still there.
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Re: Re:

18 Apr 2017 14:14

LaFlorecita wrote:
rhubroma wrote:Russian nouveau riche...all that money, zero class. That Dave Brailsford once said he's "got lots of time for Oleg," demonstrates what types of characters propel this sport. At any rate, Tinkov's falling out with another dubious character, Rijs, was the rift that brought his ego in conflict with his star rider. Never a fortuitous occurrence. As far as AC is concerned, his cultural milieu is evidently problematical for the non-Latin riders. I say non-Latin, because he appears to have a strong friendship with Basso.

I'm not sure it's a cultural thing (although it obviously plays a big role) because he seems to have a good relationship with for example Roche (although maybe he is a strange case because he's so French) and of course De Jongh. I'd say it's much more of a personality thing.

Although this reminds me that last year, I worried that the Tour team was lacking South European influence and this would make Alberto less comfortable... people called me paranoid but look what happened :eek:

In additionto that, Roche's wife is Spanish, and he speaks Spanish reasonably well
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Re: Re:

18 Apr 2017 16:57

ice&fire wrote:In additionto that, Roche's wife is Spanish, and he speaks Spanish reasonably well

Good point, I didn't know that
Alberto we love you
on the road
you don't need to say this stuff
we saw you on the road
you blessed us with 9 great shows
let's not argue the toss about the official count
you are much bigger than that
~TourOfSardinia
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Re:

18 Apr 2017 17:23

rick james wrote:I sure love it when Oleg ruffle's a few feathers


So if I start talking smack on you and your partner, I'll just be ruffling your feathers? Good to know.
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Re: Re:

18 Apr 2017 17:47

Beech Mtn wrote:snip.

I know what you're saying about the incident with Tinkov's wife, I remember that as well. But after that, in 2014 mainly and occasionally in 2015 and 2016, Tinkov praised Contador to heaven and back. As long as he was winning, Tinkov didn't seem to mind Contador at all. So I doubt the one incident with the wife is the main reason for Tinkov's hatred.
I think your spot on about Tinkov's position in the team - it seemed like he was really involved in the team and wanted to be "one of the guys". It's understandable in some way, but I can imagine it must have been quite irritating for the riders and especially to someone more introverted like Contador (as opposed to Sagan), because of Tinkov's extremely loud behavior he must have been hard to ignore.
Alberto we love you
on the road
you don't need to say this stuff
we saw you on the road
you blessed us with 9 great shows
let's not argue the toss about the official count
you are much bigger than that
~TourOfSardinia
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Re:

19 Apr 2017 05:20

LaFlorecita wrote:Well the Tour was the first (and only) race Vandborg ever did with Contador so of course he felt like he didn't know him at all compared to Basso and Schleck, with whom he shared teams for multiple years.
Also it seems unfair to blame the fans booing them and Riis' bad temper on Contador (although he was obviously the main reason for it)
Anyway none of this is a surprise to me because Karsten Kroon said something similar about Contador building a cocoon around himself (although he was way more understanding about it than these two appear to be, at least from the way you're describing it) and Bruyneel told a similar story a while ago (but let's not pretend he wasn't to blame as well) but why is it such a big deal :confused: that's what introverts do when they're in a group of people they don't really know at all. It also shows how important it is for Contador to have a team around him with people he knows and trusts.
So even if he isn't the easiest person to work with, none of the above is an excuse for Tinkov's abuse. What if Evans had been his team leader?!

Maybe the best way to judge him is by comparing the people that like him to those that hate him... so if it's people like Scarponi, Roche, Rogers and Basso on one side verse people like Tinkov and Kreuziger on the other... what are we even talking about?


Tinkov and Evans, now that I would like to see ! Two ride off into the mist together but only one comes back........... Cadel the perfectionist and Tinkov the party boy, a match made in heaven.
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Re: Re:

19 Apr 2017 09:09

Beech Mtn wrote:
DFA123 wrote:A lot of personal insults towards Tinkov in the last couple of pages here, looks a bit unedifying and I dont think people should lower themselves to his level of language by responding in kind. Would be much more interesting to find out what is his motivation for all this bile.

Tinkov knows Contador personally better than everyone on this forum I guess, so he's in a better position to make character judgements than any of us - positive or negative. And if you look beyond his ridiculous insults, he's obviously very bitter and angry about something Contador did (or perhaps didn't do) - it seems to me from his tweets that he feels Contador didn't integrate himself in the team and remained a bit aloof. Something that would re-inforce the view that the team split last year when Majka and Kreuziger seemed luke-warm in their support towards him. Hopefully, for Contador, he can do this better at Trek and get the team to really buy into his TdF hopes - because with the likes of Degenkolb, Felline, Mollema and possibly Pantano they have riders who may have half an eye or more on their own goals if Contador doesn't lead them 100% effectively.


Sometime early on, Tinkov was complaining on Twitter about Contador being rude to OT's wife at a race. I don't know the exact details, but I got the impression maybe she tried to speak to AC, but he blew her off or just spoke to her only briefly. I had the impression that maybe Contador was just getting ready to race, or had just finished, and she was at the team area and tried to talk to him. Oleg was pissed and complained about it for a while afterwards on Twitter.

Now, understandably OT supports his wife, and I guess he thought of AC as a highly paid employee who needed to show more deference to the boss' family. Whereas AC is the star athlete, and usually those guys are coddled at races and not given any complaints about anything, because it's all about the preparation and mindset for the sporting event at hand. I don't even know if AC knew it was Tinkov's wife or just maybe thought it was another sponsor person.

From the outside looking in, I see two things. One is that Oleg and Alberto are just way different personalities and never going to be best friends, especially when having to spend a lot of time together. They'd probably get along better if they were only acquaintances who only saw each other in small doses on rare occasions. Just two different personality types.

And two, Oleg spent a lot of time at the races, especially stage races. He'd spent his money, and it was his right to be there to embed with his team and enjoy his toy, but it must've weighed on the guys to constantly have to entertain and defer to the boss. Oleg was there a lot, and sometimes brought along other people from his bank for brief visits, etc.

Grand Tours just go on and on, and with crowds and stress and sponsor commitments and press, etc there's plenty to wear a person down outside of the actual racing. Away from family, no free time at all. And Oleg was around at dinner, hanging around the hotel and the bus, etc. It was probably intrusive - doubly so for a person who might be more introverted. When normally a rider would get a chance to decompress after the races turns out to be time to have to take selfies with the boss and sing songs at the dinner table. It was too much.

And that's just coming from OT wanting to hang with the guys, not counting the pressure from Oleg to produce results. I can imagine that Contador may have just tried to shut himself off from Oleg somewhat and that this was resented. After all, Oleg pays his salary and is used to running a business. But a sports team doesn't quite work the same way as regular employees. And Oleg does follow and adore the sport. He probably admired Contador a lot before they actually knew each other personally. So you pay a bunch of money and get disappointed because things didn't turn out like you had hoped.

I think there was resentment from early on, and it sounds from the tweets like it's still there.

Thanks for the detailed reply; it certainly looks a plausible theory to me. I can see Contador's stuborness and emotional detachment winding Tinkov up the wrong way. I wonder if it was a similar thing with his team-mates, which would be more problematic. That he never really connected with the likes of Kreuziger or Majka on a personal level, so their commitment to him was luke warm at best, particularly as he consistently failed in the Tour where they had their own objectives.
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19 Apr 2017 10:28

Very interesting contributions, Valv.Piti, DFA and Beech Mtn, thanks.

I always like to put these kind of situations this way: everybody is to blame or nobody is to blame. Everybody has their own personality and ways of reacting to things and to other people. Tinkov, thanks to his extremely no nonsense style, has become the person he is, has achieved what he has achieved, just like Alberto or other people in cycling are who they are thanks to their personal attributes and behaviour. There is no right or wrong. In the world (or in a team, or a peloton) there can be only one Alberto, just like there can be just a little few Tinkovs.

It's just interesting to watch from the outside and in the end these are all grown up people. Intelligent enough to deal with it.

And oh yeah, according to this theory I also don't blame the people who are extremely defensive towards any of these personality's involved, or who cannot accept some types of behaviour. It's just the way they are. Not right nor wrong. Let's accept all these beautiful diversities :).
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Re: Re:

19 Apr 2017 13:11

LaFlorecita wrote:
Beech Mtn wrote:snip.

I know what you're saying about the incident with Tinkov's wife, I remember that as well. But after that, in 2014 mainly and occasionally in 2015 and 2016, Tinkov praised Contador to heaven and back. As long as he was winning, Tinkov didn't seem to mind Contador at all. So I doubt the one incident with the wife is the main reason for Tinkov's hatred.
I think your spot on about Tinkov's position in the team - it seemed like he was really involved in the team and wanted to be "one of the guys". It's understandable in some way, but I can imagine it must have been quite irritating for the riders and especially to someone more introverted like Contador (as opposed to Sagan), because of Tinkov's extremely loud behavior he must have been hard to ignore.


The wife incident is just an example of the whole fraught relationship. Oleg was coming at this from a place of "who are you to treat my wife and me this way? I pay your salary." And Contador was coming at this from a whole different place as the star athlete. Not saying AC was necessarily arrogant, but usually the athletes show up and be "on" for appointments, but don't get all these demands 24/7 on race days. They just had two different perspectives on the situation, combined with two different personalities.

We the public should have never heard about the Oleg's wife incident. That should've been dealt with privately within the team/the parties involved. I wonder if Oleg going public didn't turn AC off to him permanently to some degree, even if they did eventually patch things up. I know if someone did that to me, personally, I'd never really trust them 100% again afterwards, even if we did make amends later.

As for the current tweets, someone else earlier said something about OT maybe wanting to motivate AC. I don't see that so much. I think he wants to hurt AC's "brand" (reputation). Oleg's businesses over the years show he knows a lot about branding.

I think you're totally right about Oleg being happy with Contador as long as he was winning. That's OT's right as the boss, but it makes for a boss/employee relationship, not friends. Oleg seemed to want to have it both ways with his riders, be their buddy and bask in their glory when they won, but be a real pain when anything didn't go right. Many teams have a go-between the sponsor and the riders, but that didn't happen here. Probably was difficult for lots of guys.

He certainly gave Sagan grief about not winning at times, but Peter is a different person. (And he won something big), and also OT never went public with personal stuff about Peter like he does with AC. Probably because Sagan is more extroverted and they had more of a friendship and respect between them. I suspect with AC there was just distance.

Probably after working with Vino and Lance before, AC was not interested in team drama. Plus losing Riis. Plus getting older and not winning the Tour like he'd wanted to. Maybe being distant with newcomers is a shortcoming of AC. I definitely think he has sometimes not always recognized strong teammates who would be to his benefit to keep on a team in favor of keeping less talented riders who are his friends. It's great that he's loyal, but I can see where other riders might feel disappointed if they worked really hard for Contador all year and then he didn't try to get the management to renew their contracts because he was only interested in his small group of friends. I don't think Contador is that great about being able to form a team around himself. Throughout his career he's had so many other strong qualities that could often compensate for this.
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Re: Re:

20 Apr 2017 15:55

movingtarget wrote:
Irondan wrote:Does anyone think that Tinkov could be using reverse psychology on Alberto?

Tinkov knows that he's going to get under Alberto's skin with what he's saying, maybe he's doing it as an extra motivator? The best way for Alberto to respond to Tinkov is to win the Tour, maybe Tinkov knows that what he's saying will light a fire with Alberto to give him that extra 1% he needs to go from 2nd place finishes to 1st place?

I don't really know if this theory holds water, it was just a thought.... :confused:


I was thinking myself that Contador will take the extra motivation but a rider like Contador never needs motivation from others. If he has another Tour off the podium expect Tinkov to be all over Twitter saying I told you so.


I don't know. He seems to perform when he has external motivators driving him:

2009 TdF---> Armstrong drama
2011 Giro---> Clembuterol positive
2014 --------> Complete embarrassment by Froome at 2013 Tour de France
2016---------> ???

I don't think Tinkov rates, but perhaps what he's saying echoes what others are whispering about Contador. That time has moved on from him. That he can't win. That would add the necessary motivation....
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