The Russian tycoon is believed to have approached the British team with the intention of returning to cycling.

Russian billionaire Oleg Tinkov reportedly made a £17million offer to Sir Dave Brailsford to take over Team Sky.

Tinkov, a former team boss who left cycling in 2016, is believed to have offered to run the British WorldTour outfit, with the condition that he would be responsible for the structure.

Spanish newspaper AS reports that Brailsford rejected the proposal because of a difference in vision for the team.

Tinkov has denied the reports, telling Cyclingnews it’s “bulls**t”.

Team Sky is in the hunt for a sponsor after its parent company, Sky plc, announced it would be pulling out at the end of the 2019 season.

Sky plc was recently taken over by American communications giant Comcast, which was followed by the departure of chairman James Murdoch who was a driving force behind the broadcaster’s cycling sponsorship.

Tinkov, the founder of Tinkoff Bank who started out in consumer businesses including a brewery and restaurants, has been closely involved in a number of cycling ventures.

In 2005 he founded Pro Continental team Tinkoff Restaurants, now WorldTour team Katusha-Alpecin, before his sponsorship ended in 2008 due to disagreements with coach Alexander Kuznetsov.

In 2012 Tinkov returned to cycling as a co-sponsor of Saxo Bank-Tinkoff Bank, before he took full control of the team the following year.

The team’s most notable riders include Alberto Contador and Peter Sagan, who both had famous public disagreements with their team boss.

In 2016, Tinkov revealed he would be leaving cycling sponsorship.

Despite being open to selling off Tinkoff, the team folded at the end of the 2016 season.

The latest rumours around Team Sky’s future are the Comcast could part-sponsor the outfit  beyond 2019.

Last month, reports suggested that the American firm could pay 70 per cent of Sky’s budget through to 2021 while the search for a sponsor continues.

It was also rumoured that Israeli-Canadian billionaire Sylvan Adams, owner of Pro Continental team Israel Cycling Academy, could merge with Sky to secure his team a spot in the Tour de France by 2020.

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