Team Sky have confirmed that performance director Rod Ellingworth will leave the team at the end of the season to take up a new position at Bahrain-Merida. Cyclingnews reported on Thursday that Ellingworth had been approached by McLaren, which became a 50 per cent partner in the Bahrain-Merida team last December.
McLaren, Bahrain-Merida, Ellingworth, and Team Sky manager Dave Brailsford all declined to comment when contacted by Cyclingnews on Thursday, but Team Sky announced on Friday morning that Ellingworth will part company with the team at the end of this season.
"Rod Ellingworth will be leaving Team Sky to join Bahrain-Merida from next season," read the statement. "Ellingworth, who was a founder member of the team upon our formation in 2010, informed senior management of his decision earlier this season.
"He will remain with the team for the immediate future to ensure an amicable and smooth transition. Everyone at the team thanks Rod for his immense service and contribution during his time with us."
Ellingworth has been part of Sky’s coaching staff since its inception in 2010, playing a role in each of the team’s six Tour de France victories. The 46-year-old has combined his work with Sky with a number of roles at British Cycling. He served as elite men’s national team coach until March 2018, helping Mark Cavendish win the Worlds in Copenhagan in 2011.
Bahrain-Merida’s roster is expected to undergo an overhaul for next season, with Vincenzo Nibali reportedly set to leave for Trek-Segafredo, a move that would leave the team in need of a new leader for the Grand Tours.