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

The Daily Telegraph - Business - - Sport Cycling - By Tom Cary Tele­graph The Daily

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.”


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