After just one full season in charge, Rod Ellingworth has left Bahrain McLaren with immediate effect. In a press release issued Thursday evening, the team and manager announced the news.
"The time has come for me to move on," Ellingworth said.
"I have thoroughly enjoyed the chance to lead this team. There has been some fantastic momentum, and I feel I leave the team in a strong position. We've worked well together in this global pandemic to keep racing and have achieved some fantastic results.
"The team has pulled together and tried hard to keep everyone safe. The team were united through tough times, and it was a pleasure to be part of it. One of the highlights for me was achieving a fourth place in the general classification at the Tour de France.
"I want to thank the whole team for all their hard work and dedication. I wish the team all the best for the future and will follow their progress and progression. I'd like to thank the team's founder, His Highness Shaikh Nasser, for his dedication and continued support of cycling."
Ellingworth joined the team in June 2019 as Team Principal after previously working at Team Sky. He was part of the management that helped Sky win their first Tour de France in 2012 but when McLaren came on board at Bahrain they offered Ellingworth the chance to run his first WorldTour team.
He signed several high profile riders in his first season as manager, including Mark Cavendish, and he helped the team finish fourth in the 2020 Tour de France through Mikel Landa. There were several other successes during the season, but the COVID-19 pandemic hit the team harder than most. Riders and staff were forced to take large pay cuts - some of which were up to 70 per cent of salaries - for several months this spring, and in the summer it was confirmed that McLaren would step away from the team due to financial pressures on their own business.
Ellingworth was still able to sign several riders for the 2021 season but the majority of signings were re-hires rather than new recruits.
The news of his sudden departure came as a shock to both riders and staff on the team, with riders only informed two hours before the press release was issued.
In the press release issued by Bahrain McLaren the team stated that, "Rod’s passion is rider development, so he has decided to move on and focus on new projects close to his heart."
A spokesperson for the team added, “We would like to take this opportunity to thank Rod for the expertise and wisdom he imparted on the team. The performance first ethos and winning mindset he instilled in every team member will endure. We wish Rod all the very best for the future. The team is now wholly focused on its transition to Bahrain Victorious for next year, and we are looking forward to sharing more about our vision over the coming month. And it goes without saying, we can’t wait to get back to racing.”
As well as signing Landa, Ellingworth was responsible for bringing in several young and talented riders, including Stephen Williams, Scott Davies, and Fred Wright. He was also instrumental in bringing on board Wout Poels and Jack Haig. Ellingworth's departure leaves a huge void within the squad ahead of next season. As for Ellingworth's next move, there are several teams in need of an experienced manager , including his former team Ineos Grenadiers.
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