Ineos Grenadiers are reportedly facing internal issues, with the team’s bosses considering an overhaul of the coaching set-up after a disappointing Tour de France.
Eurosport journalist Orla Chennaoui reports that rumours of dissatisfaction within the team have been backed up by interesting remarks made by Sir Dave Brailsford during Monday’s rest day press conferences.
Speaking on the latest episode of The Breakaway, Chennaoui says that the coaching set-up is believed to have not supported the riders in the best possible way.
“I understand that things aren’t as rosy within Ineos as they would have been in years gone by,” she said.
“That may sound like a very obvious statement, they are not contending for GC this year and that’s where they would much rather be. It’s not necessarily a form issue though, it’s more of a personnel issue with the coaching staff in particular.
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“I understand there’s been a bit of unhappiness that’s been growing there for a little while. Team Ineos and Team Sky before have always been so good at managing to keep their team members incredible happy and working well together and knowing their purpose, and I get the feeling that that’s been ever so slightly lost over the last little while.
“There is something that Dave Brailsford said in his rest day interviews yesterday that really struck a chord with me. He said, ‘We’ve got to put together a team and a coaching staff that can deliver and try and win the race again’. And that is the kind of talk that would make me think that what I’m hearing is true.
“There has been a lack of stability within that team of late, and we all know that there have been changes high up in personnel. It feels like they’re going to have to make changes and Brailsford is talking about going back to the drawing board.
“One thing we know about Brailsford, and Bradley will know this better than anyone, is that he loves a good fight. He loves it when he’s being told that they can’t do it anymore, and that’s exactly the kind of fire in the belly that fuels him.
“But it’s interesting, isn’t it, because Ineos have been the biggest budgeted team since they came into professional cycling. At the moment they’re operating at something like £45-8m. If you compare that to Jumbo-Visma’s budget of something like £25m, they’re on double the budget. And it’s always been a factor that has gone against Ineos if you like, people saying, ‘They’re just buying these wins’. Well, that kind of money isn’t enough to buy the wins, they need to get stuff sorted behind the scenes as well.”
Bradley Wiggins reacted to those reports with interest, saying that Ineos’ culture has been one of the key factors of their success.
However, the 2012 Tour de France champion also believes that the system put in place by Brailsford may be one most suited to riders who have been trained in the British Cycling system, and not one that is flexible to accommodate styles outside of that.
“It’s funny how it’s put down to building a team that can win the Tour de France again, and finding coaches that can coach the team in terms of training, because sometimes it’s the system that you adopt as a rider when you come into a team that you buy into and you do things their way. I suppose that’s true of most sports, when you join a football team they’ll play a certain way. But it’s surprising.
“You get to a point as a rider that you kind of know what works for you, and I think that’s probably the only fault within that team really, that it doesn’t work for everybody, and it’s not a system for everybody. Some riders just can’t shine off of it.
“There were a few riders in the past that have gone there that have just…the whole system and the way it works just didn’t work for them. And I think that is a challenge, but I think that’s become more difficult the more international the team has got.
“I think it initially worked because everyone was used to a British cycling system and came through that, and I think the more international it has got, it clearly doesn’t work for everyone across the board. It’s something that Dave has recognised and has to address.”