Pidcock poised to join Ineos as part of Brailsford rebuild
Exciting Briton among raft of new signings after difficult Tour General manager ‘energised’ by challenge of Jumbo-Visma
Tom Pidcock, arguably the most exciting young prospect in British cycling, will join Ineos Grenadiers next season as part of a raft of new signings as Sir Dave Brailsford looks to “build again” after a difficult Tour de France.
Jumbo-Visma established themselves as the dominant force in the pro peloton at this year’s Tour. Although Primoz Roglic ultimately lost out to Tadej Pogacar and UAE Team Emirates in the yellow jersey category, the Slovenian wore the leader’s jersey for 11 stages and looked impregnable during that time as he was shepherded around France by a crack squad of riders which included Wout van Aert, Tom Dumoulin, Tony Martin and rising American star Sepp Kuss.
Brailsford said he was “energised” by the gauntlet thrown down by the Dutch team, adding that his own team were going through something of a “transition”.
“I think when you look at the ‘life cycle’ of our team, there’s an older, very successful group over on one side, and then a younger, up-and-coming group,” Brailsford said. “Jumbo are right smack in the middle of that maturity curve, whereas we’re immature or overly mature. So it’s like a transition really. But we’re bringing in some experience and some new young talent and we’re building again.”
Promise: Tom Pidcock will lead Britain’s elite men at this week’s Road World Championships
One of those talents,
understands, is Pidcock, who may be announced as soon as today. The 21-year-old won the under-23, or “Baby”, Giro d’Italia this month, and despite his tender age will lead Britain’s elite men’s team at this week’s Road World Championships in Imola.
Brailsford is also trying to tie up a deal for Dani Martinez (EF Pro Cycling), the recent Criterium du Dauphine champion, while Richie Porte (Trek-Segafredo) and Adam Yates (Mitchelton-Scott), who finished third and ninth respectively in this Tour, are on their way. Connor Swift [Arkea-Samsic] could also be an option.
Ineos have the largest budget in pro cycling at an estimated £40million per year, although much of that is taken up by the salaries of star riders. Chris Froome’s exit to Israel Start-Up Nation next season has freed up about £5 million per year.
Brailsford says he wants to retain a strong “British core” to his team, with 22-year-old Ethan Hayter, who is aiming for Olympic gold on the track next summer, another exciting prospect. Hayter sprinted to his first pro win at Giro dell’Appenino on Saturday.
Brailsford admitted Ineos had a difficult Tour, with leader Egan Bernal abandoning in the final week, but defended his selections. He said the team would review everything – coaching, preparation, the sports director group – over the winter.
“It was Gabba’s [Gabriel Rasch] first time as lead DS [sports director]. And I think it’s inevitable, after all that time with Nico [Portal, who died this year], some things are going to work and some aren’t. We just have to take that on the chin.”
Brailsford said head coach Tim Kerrison and Xabi Artetxe, who looks after the Spanish-speaking contingent, were as enthused as he was about the rebuild.
“You have to evolve,” Brailsford added. “What has it been now, 10-11 years? You need fresh blood, you need new ideas. Without doubt we’ll bring some people in and regenerate. [But] I think sometimes people have very short memories. We’ve won [the Tour] seven of the last eight years. It’s amazing how many experts have come out of the woodwork the last three or four days.
“I’ve got no issue with that. I get a lot of credit when things go well and I get a lot of questions when things don’t.”
Ultimately, Brailsford said he was excited by the prospect of trying to take on Jumbo-Visma. “I love performance, it’s my thing,” he said. “It just raises the bar for us again, which is what sport is about.”