Ineos Grenadiers team manager Dave Brailsford has admitted that rival WorldTour teams have improved and overtaken his squad in 2020, revealing he plans to take a new and different approach in the years ahead.
Since its creation as Team Sky in 2010, Brailsford has overseen the team’s rise to become the dominant force at the Tour de France, winning seven yellow jerseys in eight years with four different riders. Chris Froome also won the 2018 Giro d’Italia and the Vuelta a Espana in 2011 and 2017, with riders also dominating other stage races and some of the Classics.
This year, however, the team has been far less prominent. Egan Bernal was forced to abandon this year’s Tour de France due to back pain and Geraint Thomas was unable to continue in the Giro d’Italia after a bidon caused him to crash and left him with a fractured pelvis.
The British team pivoted towards chasing stage victories after losing any hopes of the general classification at the Tour de France, with Michał Kwiatkowski and Richard Carapaz finishing arm in arm on stage 18 of the Tour de France. On Wednesday Filippo Ganna used his power to conquer the climbs of Calabria to win stage 5 of the Giro d’Italia just a few days after taking the opening time trial to Palermo.
After the Tour de France debacle, Brailsford promised to go back to the drawing board to "put together a team and a coaching staff that can deliver and try to win the race again."
Although apparently not directly related to any review, the team's CEO Fran Millar has announced she has left to take up a similar role with clothing brand Belstaff, which is also owned by Ineos owner Jim Ratcliffe.
Chris Froome will move on to Israel Start-Up Nation in 2021 and Thomas enters the final year of the contract he agreed to after winning the 2018 Tour de France. New signings for 2021 include Adam Yates and young British prospect Tom Pidcock as well as Richie Porte, Daniel Martínez and Laurens de Plus.
Brailsford's first step in the review was to admit that Ineos have been overtaken by rival Grand Tour teams such as Jumbo-Visma.
"If you've found a way to win, then you stick with that way. The result: we continued to work with our heads down and we didn't notice that other teams were overtaking us," Brailsford told Belgian newspaper Het Nieuwsblad at the Giro d'Italia, in a kind of mea culpa.
"Only now do we realize that we have to keep questioning ourselves, that we have to keep reinventing ourselves.
"Now is the time to take a step back and think about the next five years. Where should we improve? We cannot afford to keep working the way we did. We have come to the point where we have to admit that other teams have passed us and that it is time for a different approach."
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