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Ineos Grenadiers team vehicles targeted by environmental campaigners in Belgium

Four arrests made following vandalism at team’s service course linked to group opposing planned petrochemicals plant in Antwerp

Several vehicles belonging to Ineos Grenadiers have been targeted by environmental campaigners at the UCI WorldTour team’s service course base in Belgium.

Het Nieuwsblad reports that six vehicles were damaged in the incident on Sunday in Deinze, East Flanders, either being covered in graffiti or wrapped in tinfoil.

Pictures shared on Twitter by New Flanders Alliance party MP Annick De Ridder showed vehicles daubed with slogans including, on a team bus, “Ineos will fall” – the name of an environmental group campaigning against a major plant named Project One planned in the Port of Antwerp by the petrochemicals giant that sponsors the team.

De Ridder said in her tweet: “This has nothing to do with democratic civilian protest any more, but is descending into pure eco-terrorism,” and called for an end to such actions.

The province’s public prosecutor has confirmed that four adult suspects have been arrested and that tinfoil and cans of spray paint were found at the scene, as well as a flag also bearing the words “Ineos will fall.”

According to Het Nieuwsblad, it is not clear what will happen to the suspects.

The UK’s largest privately-owned company, controlled by Sir Jim Ratcliffe, took over sponsorship of the team from the broadcaster Sky in May last year.

The business – last year named Scotland’s biggest polluter – has been accused of using its sponsorship of cycling and sailing, where it is backing Sir Ben Ainslie’s Americas Cup challenge, as a form of ‘greenwashing’, something Ratcliffe has denied.

In the team’s first race in its new colours at last year’s Tour de Yorkshire, it was targeted by anti-fracking campaigners, many wearing masks with Ratcliffe’s face on them, who called among other things for an end to sports sponsorship by companies involved in fossil fuels.

We have approached Ineos Grenadiers for a comment on yesterday’s incident in Belgium.

Simon joined 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.

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Giles Pargiter | 3 years ago

As Ineos takes knowing, considered direct action against the climate in favour of worshipping money at any price, it is fair game for direct action. British cycling should be ashamed at taking it's money.

alansmurphy replied to Giles Pargiter | 3 years ago

Interesting you say that Giles, British Cycling sposnored by HSBC and their problems in China / HK not a problem nor their associations with the National Gambling Association (Lottery)

HarrogateSpa | 3 years ago

The damage Ineos cause to the climate and planet is far worse than a bit of graffiti. What Ineos do is still legal, but in my opinion many of their activities shouldn't be.

Gkam84 replied to HarrogateSpa | 3 years ago
1 like

Don't get me wrong, alot of their business is crap for the planet and Big Jim is an arse, but they are also working for the better and investing in renewables. I'm by no way defending them, I don't think they should be anywhere near sport, just as UAE, Qatar and other dodgy countries should not be, but the world we live in, sometimes you've just got to take the money from where you can get it as sponsorship.

Rich_cb replied to HarrogateSpa | 3 years ago
1 like

You've done well to write that comment without using any petrochemical derived products.

HarrogateSpa replied to Rich_cb | 3 years ago


As a private individual, I'm doing my best. As the boss of a huge co with a massive impact, Ratcliffe is doing his worst.

If you've got a good faith opinion, feel free to express it. If it's just Debating Club tactics ('when you've got nothing of substance to say, attack your opponent instead'), feel free to keep schtum.

Rich_cb replied to HarrogateSpa | 3 years ago

I like the yawn from the person who posts the same thing under any story on Ineos.

You might be 'doing your best' but I bet you're still using a huge amount of products derived from petrochemicals.

As is virtually every other person in the UK.

Feigning outrage at the pollution caused by those products while continuing to use them is hypocrisy plain and simple.

You should be grateful that Ineos are in the UK, it reduces the environmental impact of the products that you use.

From that perspective your perpetual criticism of 'Scotland's biggest CO2 producer' is nonsensical.

Instead of continually posting the same inanities why not suggest an alternative to Ineos that produces the same products in a more environmentally sound way?

MattieKempy replied to Rich_cb | 3 years ago

Show us a way to do anything these days without using petro-chemical based products and I suspect plenty of people would be keen. Defending INEOS by saying that petro-chemical products are ubiqitous is puerile and over-simplistic. So how about YOU posting some ideas to reduce our reliance rather than criticising someone's principled stance?

Rich_cb replied to MattieKempy | 3 years ago

If your 'principled stance' is nothing but self serving hypocrisy then it deserves to be ridiculed.

I use as little plastic etc as I can but I also recognise that while our society still uses gargantuan quantities of petrochemical derivatives the most environmentally friendly approach is to manufacture those products in the UK.

The only way to significantly reduce the pollution caused by Ineos is to reduce the demand for their products.

Criticising Ineos achieves precisely nothing.

alansmurphy replied to Rich_cb | 3 years ago

Never thought I'd see the day of agreeing with Rich but here goes. Anyone suggesting such companies should stay away from sport really don't want to watch professional sport. Morally it is a race to the bottom, plus add all the pollutants and waste from a grand tour and you could argue we shouldn't have it at all.


Enjoy the cycling and ignore the sponsorship, simple.


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