Ellingworth spent 2020 as manager of Bahrain Victorious but returned to Ineos Grenadiers as Race Director earlier this year, albeit in a slightly expanded role to one he has held since the British squad was formed. in 2010.The team have won 35 victories this season, with Egan Bernal’s choice of the peloton at the Giro d’Italia. The team had a remarkable stage run in the first half, with victories for Adam Yates in the Volta a Catalunya, Geraint Thomas in the Tour de Romandie, Richie Porte in the Critérium du Dauphiné and Richard Carapaz in the Tour de Suisse.
“We’ve had one of the best seasons we’ve ever had in terms of wins and quality of wins,” said Ellingworth. Cyclismenews recently. “Catalonia, Romandie, Dauphiné… these are fantastic results, for a wide variety of cyclists as well. “
However, the second half of the year was much quieter. After Carapaz placed third overall in the Tour de France, the team have won just six times, five of which thanks to future Ethan Hayter.
With the exception of a somewhat abnormal 2020 season, the total of 35 was up from their total of 27 wins in 2019, but down slightly from the previous four years (43, 35, 39, 43) . The team’s worst campaign was its debut in 2010, which brought in 22 wins, while its most successful run came in 2012, where it scored 50 times, including a first Tour de France title thanks to to Bradley Wiggins.
“We’re aiming to win bike races, but you’re losing a lot in this game,” Ellingworth said.
“We did 260 days of racing and we won 35. I bet [Deceuninck-] QuickStep has 280 days of racing and has “only” 60 wins. Some WorldTour teams are down in the single digits, and it’s not like they aren’t trying. It’s damn hard to win a bike race. You should never be disappointed. The way we measure it is to look at how the guys rode. Sometimes you don’t win and you learn from it, but overall the performance has been strong. “
This 2012 campaign also saw Wiggins win the Olympic time trial title, and Ellingworth was keen to add gold to this year’s equation, even though Tom Pidcock, Richard Carapaz and Filippo Ganna won their titles. in national kits.
“The Olympics are a big priority for us. We come from an Olympic background with British cycling and track, and that excites us, ”said Ellingworth.
“Seeing Tom win the MTB started things off in a fantastic way, then with Richard in the road race and Filippo in the time trial, then Ethan with a medal [on the track] also. Hell, that was awesome. The Olympics always make it a different year so that was great. “
Another year of yellow
While Ellingworth noted that Bernal had “regained his flair” to win the team their second consecutive Giro and their third in four years, Ineos Grenadiers had to endure another year without the yellow jersey.
Wiggins’ victory in 2012 kicked off a series of seven titles in eight editions, Chris Froome winning four, followed by Geraint Thomas and Egan Bernal in 2018 and 2019. However, Jumbo-Visma has become a force. rival collective and Pogačar severely broke. thanks to back-to-back titles that have already seen the 23-year-old dubbed the new Eddy Merckx.
Ellingworth was keen to stress that Carapaz’s third place this year was “a respectable and bloody race,” but acknowledged that an overhaul is needed if they are to regain their old perch.
“We are perhaps up against one of the greatest Grand Tour riders to ever see in Pogacar, so we don’t take it lightly. It’s not like we can just walk in without thinking. Like most teams, we’ll go back to the board drawing and take a good look. We’re going to come back and fight next year for sure, ”said Ellingworth Cyclismenews.
“It’s a big challenge, but a good one. UAE and Jumbo-Visma do a brilliant job. We’ve already started looking at what it will take to win these bike races. The style of racing is changing, people are going earlier. [Mathieu] Van der Poel et [Remco] Evenepoel. It is phenomenal. It’s great to see these kids running. “
While Team Sky has dictated the terms of engagement in professional cycling for a long time, part of their visit to this drawing board is to try and tap into this new direction of the sport. The team had already made several young rookies over the past two seasons, but the rejuvenation has intensified in this current transfer window, which falls under Ellingworth’s new tenure.
Several runners, including Gianni Moscon and Rohan Dennis, continue, while the three signings they’ve made – Luke Plapp, Magnus Sheffield and Ben Tulett – are all 20 years old or younger.
“We deliberately took the route of some younger guys. There are some really interesting things going on, and there is a change in the sport, for different reasons. Young children are better educated, go through the system better, ”Ellingworth said. .
“Look at them, they’ve all had the pack from a young age. Watch the junior TT the other day [at Worlds]. It was pretty phenomenal, really, how fast they went. You have to adapt a bit to change. “