Team Ineos have applied to the UCI to change their name and team colours for the rest of the season, with the British WorldTour team confirming it will be known as the 'Ineos Grenadiers' from the start of the Tour de France on August 29 to promote the new 4x4 SUV vehicle recently launched by Ineos Automotive.
The Tuttobiciweb and Spaziociclismo websites revealed details of the changes on Wednesday morning, with Ride Media in Australia revealing an image of a mock-up of the new jersey that was apparently distributed by Tour de France organiser ASO and seen by other media.
The Ineos Grenadiers will also swap their current black and burgundy colours for a largely dark blue palette, with the Grenadier name and red A logo dominant on the jersey.
Team Ineos initially refused to comment about the changes when contacted by Cyclingnews but then confirmed the team’s new name and branding will officially launch in the week leading up to the Tour de France in Nice.
The team said: "The change will align the team with the Grenadier, a no-nonsense 4x4 vehicle designed, engineered and manufactured by INEOS Automotive."
The team will return to racing as Team Ineos next week at the Vuelta a Burgos in Spain, while Egan Bernal and Chris Froome will race together at the La Route d'Occitanie in France in early August. Geraint Thomas will return at the Tour de l'Ain.
UCI regulations allow for a change of name and colours once per season. Team Ineos have previously undergone a kit change during their days as Team Sky. At the 2018 Tour de France, they wore a special design with whales on the back to support Sky's Ocean Rescue campaign, while the team rebranded as Ineos when it changed sponsor in the middle of the 2019 season.
Other teams have changed names to promote their sponsor products in different markets or race in dominantly white kit during the summer.
Ineos kit supplier Castelli will make the new blue race clothing, with the Grenadier logo on the chest, back and sides. The Ineos name will remain on the shoulder and collar of the jersey.
Bike sponsor Pinarello recently launched its new 2021 range with the Pinarello F12 available in a grey/black design which is very similar to the colours of the Grenadier, although another team issue colour scheme may be in the works.
Bernal, Thomas and four-time winner Chris Froome are expected to be part of Team Ineos' line-up at the Tour de France in September, with leadership roles still to be finalised. Team Ineos decided not to offer Froome a new contract beyond 2020 and he has agreed to join Israel Start-Up Nation as sole Tour leader in 2021.
Ineos, run and largely owned by British billionaire Jim Ratcliffe, is primarily a petrochemicals company, but it has entered the automotive market with its 'Grenadier', described as "a stripped back, no-nonsense, utilitarian 4x4". The project began in 2018, with 200 engineers contracted to design and develop the vehicle, with manufacturing beginning in South Wales at the end of last year.
According to Autocar, it is expected to hit the market in 2021 at a price of £40,000. The name Grenadier is taken from the London pub where Ratcliffe first had the idea of making the vehicle.
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