Can Team Ineos target and win the Giro d'Italia, Tour de France and Vuelta a España in 2020? Their riders seem up for the challenge but their rivals are calling foul, with debate about introducing a salary or budget cap still ongoing at the UCI.
Team Ineos and previously as Team Sky, have won seven of the last eight editions of the Tour de France, with Chris Froome also winning the Vuelta a España twice and the Giro d'Italia once. The British team finished first and second at this year's Tour de France with Egan Bernal and Geraint Thomas despite the early aggression of Julian Alaphilippe and Thibaut Pinot.
They have often struggled and stumbled at the Giro d'Italia and Vuelta a España but have signed 2019 Giro d'Italia winner Richard Carapaz from Movistar and are set to sign world time trial champion Rohan Dennis to further boost their roster for stage races. Pavel Sivakov, Tao Geoghegan Hart, Ivan Sosa are all considered future stage race talents, with Team Ineos reported to have a budget of over €40 million in 2020.
The idea of winning the Giro d'Italia, Tour de France and Vuelta a España in the same season seems possible and could be Team Ineos' goal for 2020.
"Why not dream big? If anyone can do it, then we can," Italian Team Ineos rider Filippo Ganna told La Gazzetta dello Sport recently.
Carapaz is likely to target the Giro d'Italia in 2020 and seems up for the challenge with Team Ineos.
"Who knows? But I think we can try," he said when asked by Cyclingnews. Team Inoes' dominance of the Tour de France in recent years has not gone down well with everyone.
EF Education First manager Jonathan Vaughters has studied salary caps and budget regulation as part of a business MBA and prefers to compete on a level playing field.
“You buy certainty. You're purchasing the ability to win," he told Reuters last year. "You're looking at an almost impenetrable wall of money. You can basically go buy all the best riders. The question for the sport is if they are all on one team, is it fun for spectators to watch?”
UCI president David Lappartient also seems keen to address Team Ineos' dominance.
"I am against a salary cap for the riders, cyclists can earn as much as they want and teams have to pay as much for a rider as they want. What I am talking about is introducing a ceiling for the team’s budget in general, which means that if you pay a certain rider a high wage, you will have less money left for other riders. That means you would naturally have the strong riders better divided among various teams," Lappartient explained this summer.
However, the UCI president also called the arrival of a new sponsor like Ineos as "healthy" for the sport, noting "one of our objectives is to have an economy that is more solid."
Team Ineos signed Carapaz from Movistar, strengthening their roster and weakening that of their Spanish rival. Directeur sportif Max Sciandri guided Carapaz to victory at the Giro d'Italia and thinks he can help Team Ineos win all three Grand Tours in 2020.
"Carapaz could target the Giro and then the Vuelta, while Froome and Bernal can go for the Tour. Who else have I forgotten? There's also Thomas and probably even Rohan Dennis who can drive them along all day, so they can do what they want," Sciandri told Cyclingnews after the Giro d'Italia route presentation Milan.
"I don’t think it's right, there has to be a limit to everything, for everyone. Their success is good for Dave Brailsford and the team but there's a lack of balance in the sport. How can other a small Pro Conti team compete when Team Ineos' vehicle budget is bigger than their budget for the whole year?"