The final Grand Tour of the cycling season begins tonight with the 2020 edition of the Vuelta España.
The cycling team that has won eight grand tours, Team Sky, will become Team Ineos from May 2nd.
The change comes following broadcaster Sky announcing last December that it will end its ten-year association with the team. Britain’s richest man, Sir Jim Ratcliffe, owner of chemical firm Ineos, steps in as the new sponsor and sole owners following talks over recent weeks with Team Sky’s principal Sir Dave Brailsford.
But what does this mean for the UK’s most successful cycling team?
Will 2019 be a year when success on the road is the main headline again? Certainly, the team has the potential for more victories on the road. Chris Froome, four-time winner of the Tour de France, has said, “So excited that we as riders and staff will be able to continue on together for 2020 and beyond. Looking to continued success as Team Ineos!”
But how many more years are in Froome’s legs for performance at the top level? He will be 34 this May, so perhaps this year or next will realistically be his last chances to add to the four Tour de France wins. After all, the average age of a winner is less than 29.
Could the new Team Ineos look to last year’s Tour de France winner, Welshman Geraint Thomas, for more success?
He said, “Super happy that the team can continue and stay together!! Thank you to Sky, hello Ineos”.
However, given Thomas is just one year younger than Froome, new potential stars will be needed in the team. Where will Ineos look to add to their roster; will it be by signing marquee names from other teams or will they look to nurture younger talent already in and around the side?
If they decide to go with the latter, they certainly have a proven principal in Brailsford who is more than capable of taking Team Ineos onto greater success.