Sir Dave Brailsford, who has guided Ineos Grenadiers to 12 Grand Tour victories since it began racing as Team Sky in 2010, is reportedly moving on from the UCI WorldTeam to take charge of its owner and headline sponsor’s entire sports portfolio.
According to a report on the Italian website Tuttobiciweb, his position as team principal will be taken by director of racing Rod Ellingworth, who rejoined the outfit at the start of this season after spending the highly disrupted 2020 season heading up Bahrain-McLaren.
Ineos, the petrochemicals giant owned by billionaire Sir Jim Ratcliffe, bought the team’s management company Tour Racing Limited from former owners Sky and 21st Century Fox in 2019, with the deal effective from 1 May that year, the eve of the Tour de Yorkshire.
In sailing, the company backs Sir Ben Ainslie’s Ineos Team UK, which earlier this year missed out on the opportunity to challenge Emirates Team New Zealand for the America’s Cup when it lost to Italy’s Luna Rossa in the final of the Prada Cup elimination series.
Ineos is also a main sponsor of the Mercedes-AMG Petronas Formula One Team, and in July signed a six-year deal to sponsor New Zealand Rugby.
The company, which is keen to share knowledge and expertise across its sports portfolio, also staged the 2019 challenge which saw the Kenyan runner Eliud Kipchoge become the first person to run a Marathon distance in less than two hours, although the event in Vienna was not conducted under race conditions.
Ratcliffe, who is based in Monaco, personally owns the French Ligue 1 football club, OGC Nice.
Brailsford stepped down as performance director at British Cycling in 2014 having steered Team GB to dominance of the track cycling events at Beijing in 2008 and in London four years later to focus exclusively on Team Sky.
He has overseen seven Tour de France victories – four by Chris Froome and one each by Sir Bradley Wiggins, Geraint Thomas and Egan Bernal, and Froome also won two Vuelta a Espana titles for Team Sky and one at the Giro d’Italia, where Tao Geoghegan Hart and, most recently, Bernal, have also won the maglia rosa.
Ellingworth set up the British Cycling Academy in Tuscany and later masterminded Mark Cavendish’s successful bid to win the rainbow jersey in the road race at Copenhagen in 2011 before becoming performance manager at Team Sky two years later.
In July, Brailsford, who underwent an operation for prostate cancer in 2019 and later had surgery for a blocked artery, said in an interview with the Guardian’s Jeremy Whittle that any further health problems might force him to give up his role as team principal.
Cyclingnews.com reports that Ineos Grenadiers have described the Tuttobiciweb report as “speculation” – which of course falls short of being an outright denial.
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.