Britain’s richest man keeps Team Sky on the road

Team to rebrand as Team INEOS as new sole owner takes reins after Sky ends sponsorship

Team Sky cyclists  Egan Berna,  Christopher Froome, Geraint Thomas and Gianni Moscon  during the eighth stage of the 105th edition of the Tour de France last year. Photograph: AFP/Getty Images

Team Sky cyclists Egan Berna, Christopher Froome, Geraint Thomas and Gianni Moscon during the eighth stage of the 105th edition of the Tour de France last year. Photograph: AFP/Getty Images

 

Team Sky will stay on the road under a new guise after securing the backing of Britain’s richest man Jim Ratcliffe.

The team will change their name to become known as Team INEOS mid-season, racing under the new branding for the first time at the Tour de Yorkshire in May.

The British-registered team had been seeking new funding after Sky announced in December it would end its ownership and sponsorship at the end of 2019.

Sky and 21st Century Fox will now end their involvement on May 1 with INEOS becoming the sole owners of the team’s holding company Tour Racing Limited.

The Tour de Yorkshire begins in Doncaster the following day.

Team principal Dave Brailsford said: “Today’s announcement is great news for the team, for cycling fans, and for the sport more widely. It ends the uncertainty around the team and the speed with which it has happened represents a huge vote of confidence in our future.

Passion

“In Sir Jim Ratcliffe and INEOS, I know that we have found the right partner whose vision, passion and pioneering spirit can lead us to even greater success on and off the bike. It heralds the start of a hugely exciting new chapter for us all as Team INEOS.”

News of the deal ensures Brailsford can keep together a team that has won six of the past seven editions of the Tour de France, and established itself as one of the most successful teams in the sport since forming in 2010.

Sky’s withdrawal had come as a shock to Brailsford when it was announced last year, with the team having just handed lengthy contract extensions to Tour winner Geraint Thomas and rising prospect Egan Bernal.

Ratcliffe has previously invested significant sums in sailing, partnering with Ben Ainslie to form Ineos Team UK, but is also known as a keen amateur cyclist who can now take his interest in the sport to a different level.

Great endurance

“Cycling is a great endurance and tactical sport that is gaining ever more popularity around the world,” Ratcliffe said in a statement.

“Equally, cycling continues to mushroom for the general public as it is seen to be good for fitness and health, together with easing congestion and pollution in city environments.

“INEOS is delighted to take on the responsibility of running such a professional team.”

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