Jim Ratcliffe: Ineos will leave cycling if team caught doping

Jim Ratcliffe has told the BBC that Ineos will pull its backing of Dave Braislford's squad if they are ever caught cheating or doping. Ratcliffe, who acquired the team from Sky and unveiled the new kit on Wednesday in Yorkshire, stated that he and Ineos had done their due diligence before investing in cycling’s biggest and most successful team in recent years.

"We did our due diligence. I have absolutely no interest in cheating or drugs," Ratcliffe told BBC Sport.

"The day that any of that enters our world, we’ll be exiting that world."

Ratcliffe has invested heavily in sport in recent months, first moving into sailing and now cycling. There are reports he has looked at buying English Premier League club Chelsea, while there has also been speculation of a possible takeover of Nice football club.

On Wednesday, Ratcliffe was asked by the media whether he was concerned with some of the controversy Team Sky had courted in recent years. Their incredible success in Grand Tours has also come at a time in which UKAD launched a 14-month investigation into a suspect package delivered to Team Sky during the 2011 Critérium du Dauphiné. There was an accusation that that the package contained the corticosteroid triamcinolone - banned in-competition without a Therapeutic Use Exemption - a claim that the team denied.

The UKAD investigation was closed without any anti-doping charges issued but a UK Parliamentary Select Committee later declared that "the credibility of Team Sky and British Cycling is in tatters - they are in a terrible position."

In 2017, an anti-doping case was brought against Chris Froome after his Vuelta a España win, though he was later cleared of any wrongdoing by the UCI and WADA. The General Medical Council in the UK are still investigating Dr Richard Freeman, who previously worked as a doctor at Team Sky and British Cycling and allegedly ordered the banned substance testosterone to administer to a rider for performance enhancement. 

"Clearly we were not ignorant of that - we did think about it," Ratcliffe told the media on Wednesday. "We did look at the processes in Team Sky that prevent bad behaviour. I think they’re as good as they get.

"I have no interest in using methods to enhance performance that you shouldn’t use. I have no problem with marginal gains - better chainrings or better aerodynamics, that’s fine, that’s all Formula 1 stuff - but I’ve got absolutely no interest in cheating. That’s not my game.

"I think the sport is in a different place. The science is that much better - in terms of the testing."

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