Sir Jim Ratcliffe has said that Ineos will withdraw its sponsorship of cycling should members of its team be caught cheating or taking drugs, and has also denied accusations that his company’s entry into the sport is tantamount to “greenwashing.”
Speaking yesterday as Team Sky officially became Team Ineos following the petrochemicals group’s takeover of Team Sky’s management company, Ratcliffe – Britain’s richest man – told BBC Sport: "We did our due diligence. I have absolutely no interest in cheating or drugs."
"The day that any of that enters our world we'll be exiting that world."
Team Sky have dominated the Tour de France in recent years, winning six of the past seven editions, but have also been under investigation following allegations of doping.
Therapeutic Use Exemptions issued to Sir Bradley Wiggins and the mystery over the contents of a Jiffy Bag delivered to former team doctor Richard Freeman saw a Commons select committee accuse the team of having crossed an ethical line, although UK Anti-doping concluded that it was unable to find evidence of doping.
Chris Froome was subsequently investigated for a potential anti-doping rule violation due to excessive levels of the anti-asthma drug salbutamol after winning the 2017 Vuelta but was cleared just days before last year’s Tour de France.
Ratcliffe told BBC Sport that he had discussed those cases with team principal, Sir Dave Brailsford, saying: "What's the point of winning a race if you cheat? There's no point in that really.
"Also, I believe that if you have the best athletes in the world and the best training regimes, there's no need for any of those enhancements."
The team’s new owner said he was confident that it – and cycling – are clean, insisting the sport “had turned a corner, it's the only reason we're there.
"We did all our homework and have got procedures and people we are comfortable with."
With protests against Ineos taking place at the Tour de Yorkshire, which started today, Ratcliffe also rejected claims by environmental campaigners that Ineos is engaging in greenwashing through its sponsorship.
However, Ratcliffe, whose company holds licences for fracking in Yorkshire, including at locations on the route of this year’s race, said: "It's got nothing to do with it at all.
"We have one half of our business where we have to deal with those issues – you're talking about plastic waste and fracking – we do have to deal with those things, but the sport thing is totally different."
Simon has been news editor at road.cc since 2009, reporting on 10 editions and counting of pro cycling’s biggest races such as the Tour de France, stories on issues including infrastructure and campaigning, and interviewing some of the biggest names in cycling. A law and languages graduate, published translator and former retail analyst, his background has proved invaluable in reporting on issues as diverse as cycling-related court cases, anti-doping investigations, and the bike industry. He splits his time between London and Cambridge, and loves taking his miniature schnauzer Elodie on adventures in the basket of her Elephant Bike.