Sir Dave Brailsford, who masterminded Team GB’s domination of track cycling at Olympic Games in Beijing and London then oversaw seven Tour de France victories in eight years for Team Sky, now Ineos Grenadiers, has been sharing his tips for sporting success with Premier League football club Newcastle United.
The 58-year-old, whose marginal gains philosophy underpinned that success on both the track and the road, visited Eddie Howe’s side at their pre-season training camp in Lisbon on Sunday evening at the invitation of his long-time friend Dan Ashworth, the club’s sporting director.
The club, bought by a Saudi-backed consortium, won just one of its matches during first half of the last Premier League season leaving it in the relegation zone, just 1 point clear of last place.
Its fortunes were transformed in the second half of the campaign, though, with 12 wins and five defeats, and it finished the season in 11th position.
Speaking about Brailsford’s visit on the club’s website, head coach Howe said: “I have been aware of Sir Dave’s approach and his incredible achievements at the very elite level of sport for a long time, and I was delighted to finally meet him.
“He has overseen so much success in specific disciplines, but his principles are transferrable to any competitive sporting environment. It was great for him to spend some time with the group, to share his insights and to stimulate thought and discussion as we approach the new season.”
Ashworth added: “I've known Sir Dave for a number of years, working across various different sports and he is without doubt the best in world sport at creating high-performance culture and turning that into winning.
“There were some brilliant messages for us all and it was great to get him in at this point of pre-season.”
Brailsford brought Ineos petrochemicals billionaire Sir Jim Ratcliffe in as new team owner in 2019 after broadcaster Sky decided to end its sponsorship of the WorldTour team.
Last year, he was appointed director of sport across the whole portfolio of disciplines that Ineos owns or sponsors – and in some cases including Ineos Grenadiers, of which he remains team principal, both.
His current role sees him work with the likes of the New Zealand All Blacks in rugby union, the Mercedes-AMG Petronas F1 team, the Sir Ben Ainslie-led Ineos Britannia sailing team, as well as French Ligue 1 football club OGC Nice, which is owned by Monaco-based Ratcliffe.
Sunday’s session in the Portuguese capital is not the first time Brailsford has addressed a footballing audience.
Shortly after Team GB’s London 2012 success, which itself followed Team Sky’s Sir Bradley Wiggins becoming the first British rider to win the Tour de France, then Manchester City manager Roberto Mancini popped in to the National Cycling Centre next door to the Etihad Stadium for a neighbourly chat.
The following year, Brailsford said he’d consider moving into football management himself, and in 2014 he gave a pep talk to the England men’s national team ahead of the FIFA World Cup – and was even linked (however speculatively) with the manager’s job before Gareth Southgate’s appointment.
Simon joined road.cc as news editor in 2009 and is now the site’s community editor, acting as a link between the team producing the content and our readers. A law and languages graduate, published translator and former retail analyst, he has reported on issues as diverse as cycling-related court cases, anti-doping investigations, the latest developments in the bike industry and the sport’s biggest races. Now back in London full-time after 15 years living in Oxford and Cambridge, he loves cycling along the Thames but misses having his former riding buddy, Elodie the miniature schnauzer, in the basket in front of him.