A good salary in a hard currency combined with tax perks make working at the UCI a financially rewarding role. But not everyone does it for the money. One member of the UCI Management Committee who doesn’t need extra income is Igor Makarov.
Chairman of ITERA, the Russian gas trading company, some say Makarov is a billionaire but it’s hard to be precise with his net worth. He’s the former champion cyclist who started selling jeans on the streets of Turkmenistan and became a Russian oligarch and now helps run Russian cycling as well as the UCI. Needless to say he is wealthy and busy too. So whilst some UCI officials might get to travel in business or first class, Makarov goes private. The jet above is his.
The plane is registered in Aruba to ITERA Holdings so it is a corporate jet and strictly-speaking not Mr Makarov’s personal vehicle, although he is the company’s founder and chairman. But we can perhaps tie some of this jetset aviation to pro cycling.
That’s another aircraft registered to ITERA – the corporate logo is next to the door – and it’s taking off from Sion airport in Switzerland, just a few kilometres away from the UCI’s headquarters in Aigle. Note the registration, P4-IVM as in Igor Viktorovich Makarov. And the same plane flew into Copenhagen last September on the eve of the World Championships. Perhaps it was bringing Makarov for the UCI meetings and to watch the race or perhaps he kindly made the plane available for Russian riders?
Now let’s get nautical. Look at the fine yacht above, named Areti and delivered last year. It measures some 60 metres (200 feet), placing it amongst the top-50 superyachts of the world. She includes an elevator with access for all decks, a gymnasium, steam room and sauna, change rooms and apparently there’s even bicycle storage on board. A replacement perhaps for the two sister ships Areti I and Areti II, both from 2007 and built so one could sail in the Caribbean and the other could sail in European waters.
The yachts are owned by a young Russian industrialist who has chosen to build two identical yachts due to business interests that divide his time almost equally between Russia/Europe and the U.S. This will give him constant access to his yachts in both regions to enjoy quiet family time and to entertain business associates
Who could this young Russian industrialist be? With business interests in Russia, Europe and the US? Well ITERA is headquarted in Jacksonville, Florida. And the name again, Areti? That’s ITERA spelt backwards.
Here is a very wealthy man with corporate travel arrangements to match his status as a leading Russian industrialist and generous cycle sport benefactor. Clearly Igor Makarov is a sports official with a difference.