A collective sign of relief was heard from all British cycling fans this week as Sir Jim Ratcliffe was confirmed as the new owner, and main sponsor, of Team Sky racing.
This brings Dave Brailsford’s cash-flow concerns to an end, enabling British domination of all three Grand Tours to continue for years to come.
Team Sky will be known as Team Ineos from May first 2019. The new team will officially launch on the second of May, during Britain’s most popular domestic stage race – the Tour de Yorkshire.
Jim’s working class roots belie the fact his £21B fortune makes him the richest man in the U.K. and the 21st richest man in the world.
He’s not the first and surely won’t be the last deep-pocketed billionaire to poor his cash into cycling and buy a world tour team.
Andy Rihs $7.7B – BMC Racing Team
Owner of BMC Racing Team from 2007 to his death in 2018. The Swiss businessman, and keen amateur cyclist invested heavily in cycling throughout his life.
Owner of Phonak cycling Team until it’s controversial disbandment in 2006, Rihs’s greatest success came in 2011, with Cadel Evans winning the Tour de France for BMC.
Igor Makarov $3B – Katusha Racing
The secretive Russian billionaire made his fortune gas trading between ex-Soviet states in the 1990s. Makarov formed Katusha Racing in 2009, and has been at the helm of the team ever since.
Since the team’s inception its riders have seen much success, winning 28 stages in Grand Tours and four cycling monuments.
Oleg Tinkov $1.2B – Saxo-Tinkoff, Tinkoff-Saxo, Tinkoff
Self made Russian billionaire. Tinkov had a promising future in amateur road cycling during his teenage years before performing Russian military service, attending university in California and creating a retail, beer and banking empire and personal fortune exceeding $1B.
Tinkov was at the helm of Saxo-Tinkoff, Tinkoff-Saxo and Tinkoff from 2013 until his departure from pro tour team ownership in 2016.