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Ineos Grenadiers’ Dave Brailsford: ‘Have we got to go back to the drawing board? Totally’

By Monica Buck

The principal of the British squad wasn’t very forthcoming in explaining what has gone wrong for Ineos Grenadiers. However, he promised to come back stronger next year and to beat Jumbo-Visma.

Since the first Tour de France triumph in 2012, the Sky/Ineos team has always claimed the yellow jersey. But not this year. In 2020, the world has been turned on its head due to the Covid-19 pandemic and in the fashion of turning the things upside down, the British squad’s reign ended.

Egan Bernal was dropped on the Grand Colombier and his hopes of defending the overall win vanished. The 23-year-old Colombian promised to come back stronger and admitted that other riders were simply stronger. Today on September 16th, he decided to abandon the Tour altogether due to his back-ache problems.

Egan Bernal, Tour de France 2020 – 16th stage. © Profimedia

Yesterday, his boss came to meet the press and gave his statement: “Obviously, we are out of the race for the overall,” said team principal Dave Brailsford. “It’s not what we were hoping for but, on the other hand, when we had the rest day and took stock of the situation, there’s nobody looking in the mirror more than us. But it’s a bit of a test of pride, passion, and character now, to come back from this for the rest of the week.”

“As far as we are concerned, this is the first day of trying to win the Tour next year. That’s the way we are looking at it. It’s not often you can go to the third week of a Grand Tour and experiment, so we are going to use the rest of this week to try and get something out of the race but also to learn and maybe do a few things that we normally wouldn’t risk doing.“

People have been questioning the decision not to include Geraint Thomas or Chris Froome in the squad. However, Brailsford maintains he made the best decision possible at the time.

“It was a good decision [he said on Thomas], regardless of what anybody else may think, and Chris is where Chris is at. He’s just not ready yet for this level of competition and I think he knows that himself. He’s doing a fantastic job of getting back to where he needs to be but on both of those fronts, we will go back and see what we can learn.”

“Jumbo have been building that team for three or four seasons and it’s great to see it. I admire what they have done and they’ve got my utmost respect. Have we got to go back to the drawing board? Totally — and that’s quite exciting in some respects. We’ve got to put together a team and a coaching staff that can deliver and try and win the race again.”

Team Ineos Grenadiers before the start of the 17th stage of the Tour de France over 170km from Grenoble to Meribel Col de la Loze, France, 16 September 2020. © Profimedia

Do you think they can do it? Can Brailsford make the Ineos Grenadiers great again? Let us know your opinion.