Oleg Tinkov has launched a sensational verbal attack on Alberto Contador following his farewell to cycling, describing the two-time Tour de France winner as a "limping duck" and a "sad person".
The outspoken Russian - who has opted to disband his Tinkoff team - has often publicly vented his frustrations in the past and Tinkov was particularly critical of Contador following Tinkoff's final race at the Lombardia last Saturday.
The Spanish great has won the Tour de France and Giro d'Italia twice, and the Vuelta a Espana three times during a distinguished career, but his attitude has been openly questioned by Tinkov - who sounded out a warning to the Spaniard's new team Trek-Segafredo.
"Personally I think Alberto should stop riding because he's not as strong anymore. I stopped owning the team at the right moment, at the top. He's a great champion and so should stop now," he told Cycling News.
"I think he's going to be like a limping duck. He's going to look stupid. At the Vuelta he was dropped by the best four or five riders, next year it will be by the best 20 riders. I don't think he's ever going to win another Grand Tour. He should forget about it and quit.
"I'm angry because we didn't win the WorldTour ranking because he either crashed, he was sick or abandoned. He didn't ride Lombardia and I don't know if he didn't ride on purpose but I don't like it. It's s***. For the money he earns, that shouldn't happen. [Alejandro] Valverde was sick three days ago but he rode Lombardia and finished top 10. That's class.
"Contador won't be at the farewell party because I told him: you're sick, stay at home, you can't bring a virus to the party and make the other guys sick before the World Championships. I think the party will be better without him anyway because he's a sad person. He never really wants to drink champagne and is always careful about what he eats because he's focused on winning the Tour de France in July. That's what he was like last November in Moscow.
"That's a stupid attitude, that's why he kept crashing, he's too hard on himself and too focused. Peter [Sagan] is more relaxed and is easy going. The guys who are always serious are always boring. They can f*** off. They're boring guys, they have a terrible life.
"I respect him as a rider for his past but as a person he's never really appealed to me. I don't like him. Even in the team, most of the riders don't like him. He ended up having a bad relation with almost everyone, apart from his little Spanish group. I think Trek manager Luca Guercilena has to be careful. He signed them as a group but I think this group will create a lot of mess at Trek."
Tinkov has in the past been critical of Peter Sagan, but he insists his relationship with the Slovak is fine.
"People think we had a bad relationship but I only criticised him once and I had the right to do it. There were some problems but we fixed them by speaking together, just me and him, for an hour in my room," he added.
"To be honest I have a much worse relationship with Contador but the media have never really picked up on it. In fact I don't have a relationship with him. I respect him as a rider for his past but as a person he's never really appealed to me. I don't like him."