Ineos Grenadiers may not have won the Tour de France 2020, but the richest team in the field shows that it will be a one-off.
The UK-registered squad announced a wave of new signings on Friday who will bolster their grand tour bench from next season.
Tour podium richie Porte, Dutch climber Laurens De Plus, Colombian all-rounder Daniel Martínez and aspiring star Tom Pidcock all join the British super-team for multi-year offers.
Team principal Dave Brailsford said the four newcomers – along with Adam Yates – will give depth to a team undergoing a major overhaul.
“This season we have seen a shift in the levels of individual performance and the collective strength of teams,” Brailsford said on Friday. “The runners are better prepared and the teams more organized. The intensity of competition increases and it becomes more and more difficult to win. We appreciate this challenge and strive to come back stronger. ”
The new arrivals close the Ineos Grenadiers recruiting for 2021, team officials said. Chris Froome is the only confirmed start so far, moving to Israel Start-Up Nation, but there could be another name or two that will move on. The 2018 Tour champion, Geraint Thomas, remains with a one-year contract.
What remains and is coming confirms that Ineos Grenadiers will be one of the strongest and deepest teams in the peloton.
After a beating from the Tour de France that saw reigning 2019 Tour champion Egan Bernal quit in week three, Brailsford was clearly working to strengthen the team’s depth table.
“The riders themselves are at the heart of any team,” said Brailsford. “And each of our new hires is a key part of the evolution of the team.”
The arrival of Porte as an escalation domesticated, and the growing potential of De Plus and Martínez, as well as Yates and the nascent talent of Pidcock, means that Ineos Grenadiers has strength in numbers in just about every stage race on the cycling calendar. While the team still does not have a star sprinter and its Belgian classics program improves, the focus will remain clearly on winning the stage races, and especially the Tour de France.
Porte, who recently won the Tour’s career third best, returns to Ineos Grenadiers after racing with the team under the Sky banner for four seasons. After taking on managerial positions at BMC Racing and Trek-Segafredo, he happily placed himself in a hard-working role for the final years of his career.
“I know what my role is,” Porte said. “I know I can still win races that day, but I see myself rock climbing domesticated, and it’s something that I really look forward to.
Du Plus and Martínez, both young riders with upward momentum, will continue their development, seeing leadership opportunities in the secondary races before playing assisting roles in the big big tours. Both will have an open track to develop their GC potential.
“We are also particularly pleased to add a driver of Laurens’ ability to our team,” said Brailsford. “We admire the breadth of his abilities and we want to help him develop and reach his full potential both individually and within our team.”
De Plus leaves the Jumbo-Visma archive, while Martínez crosses paths with EF Pro Cycling after a victory at the Critérium du Dauphiné and a stage victory in the Tour 2020.
Pidcock, a recent winner of the Baby Giro, with the arrival of Adam Yates, ensures the British team a strong national presence on what is a very international formation.
What is clear are a few things: Ineos Grenadiers has the portfolio to recruit the best riders in what is a very struggling driver market following the coronavirus pandemic which has left some teams on their knees.
And second, Brailsford won’t take the 2020 Tour sitting down. The arrival of Tadej Pogačar and the rise of Jumbo-Visma force Brailsford and Co. to improve their game.
Prior to this year, Brailsford had won seven of the last eight editions of the Tour de France. This wave of new recruits shows that the team have every intention of reclaiming what they consider to be their Tour crown.