Team Ineos Discussion thread

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Ok, so this is really just a random thought that popped up in my head a few days ago but I still feel like writing it down. I guess the thought came up when I read the news about the company Ineos getting a 1/3 share of the Mercedes F1 team, you know the team that laughs at Team Sky for not winning 2 of the last 9 Tours. Now aside from the sponsor, the F1 team and the cycling team of course don't have anything in common, but what it did make me realize was that the whole talk of Ineos basically building a "sports empire" really did have some merit to it.

Now, I haven't been the biggest fan of Team Sky (or rather their budget) over the last few years, so if the next sentences sound like I'm not exactly neutral about this, it's because I'm not.

I cannot *** believe that the one cycling team with way too much money, completely destroying the balance of entire grand tours, that is moreover completely centered around riders from one specific country is losing its main sponsor (mind you, the only sponsor in the entire world that up to that point was willing to give a cycling team such a huge budget) in the exact *** year some billionaire from the same *** country decides he is the 2nd guy in the entire world willing to give that much money to a cycling team, because he wants to start a sports empire. Like, what are the *** odds?

Now, mind you, the team in general surviving is a good thing in general, but did they seriously need to find a new sponsor who looked at the old Sky budget and said "Ain't that a little small?". We have so easily forgotten the problem of rich super teams exists, because for once Ineos completely messed up their preparation for the biggest race of the year. But they are gonna be back and it's again gonna be horrendous to watch a team with their 3rd best climbing domestique better than most teams gc leaders.

Idk, I just thought of this and just couldn't believe the Brailsford team or whatever you want to call it got so lucky. Like, couldn't the billionaire deciding to make his country a cycling superpower just have come from Austria or something?
 
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Idk, I just thought of this and just couldn't believe the Brailsford team or whatever you want to call it got so lucky. Like, couldn't the billionaire deciding to make his country a cycling superpower just have come from Austria or something?
I get the impression that Ineos/Sir Jim Ratcliffe are less bothered about the team being British than Sky/Sir Dave Brailsford were. So, okay, he bought a British-registered cycling team and is sponsoring the British effort in sailing. But on the other hand, he owns Swiss and French football teams and sponsored the marathon world record attempt by a Kenyan. I would go so far as to say that if Sir Dave left, it's doubtful that a new regime would really care about British riders. Sure, they'd probably want to keep Rowe, Hart and the incoming Pidcock, but they'd want them just the same if they were from Malta. I don't think Ineos is necessarily going to be a long-term pathway for British riders in the future.

If you look at their best climbers, the top 5 or even 7 are probably all non-British except maybe Thomas is borderline and he's getting old, and maybe Hart just about squeaks in there. So I don't see how post-Sky Ineos is really responsible for making the United Kingdom a cycling superpower. So far their contribution to British cycling is for Chris Lawless (booted out of the team for next season) to win the much-watched Tour de Yorkshire, Owain Doull to win a super prestigious stage of the Tour de la Provence, Ethan Hayter to win the mighty Giro dell'Appennino and Tao Hart to fluke (until further notice) a Giro.

I would argue that their contribution to Colombian, Ecuadorian and maybe even Italian and Russian cycling, is more valuable than their contribution to British cycling has been since May 2019. Their contribution will be smaller again next year as they lose three Brits and only bring two in. I could argue even more audaciously that there was (maybe is) a gap in the market for a new, British-focused team in 2019 or 2020, with Froome, Carthy, Hart, Yatesx2 and Pidcock as the stars, and let Ineos focus on South American riders.
 
I get the impression that Ineos/Sir Jim Ratcliffe are less bothered about the team being British than Sky/Sir Dave Brailsford were. So, okay, he bought a British-registered cycling team and is sponsoring the British effort in sailing. But on the other hand, he owns Swiss and French football teams and sponsored the marathon world record attempt by a Kenyan. I would go so far as to say that if Sir Dave left, it's doubtful that a new regime would really care about British riders. Sure, they'd probably want to keep Rowe, Hart and the incoming Pidcock, but they'd want them just the same if they were from Malta. I don't think Ineos is necessarily going to be a long-term pathway for British riders in the future.

If you look at their best climbers, the top 5 or even 7 are probably all non-British except maybe Thomas is borderline and he's getting old, and maybe Hart just about squeaks in there. So I don't see how post-Sky Ineos is really responsible for making the United Kingdom a cycling superpower. So far their contribution to British cycling is for Chris Lawless (booted out of the team for next season) to win the much-watched Tour de Yorkshire, Owain Doull to win a super prestigious stage of the Tour de la Provence, Ethan Hayter to win the mighty Giro dell'Appennino and Tao Hart to fluke (until further notice) a Giro.

I would argue that their contribution to Colombian, Ecuadorian and maybe even Italian and Russian cycling, is more valuable than their contribution to British cycling has been since May 2019. Their contribution will be smaller again next year as they lose three Brits and only bring two in. I could argue even more audaciously that there was (maybe is) a gap in the market for a new, British-focused team in 2019 or 2020, with Froome, Carthy, Hart, Yatesx2 and Pidcock as the stars, and let Ineos focus on South American riders.
Well Ineos definitely didn't make the UK a cycling superpower but that's just because Sky had already done that before them. And even then, all those other countries you mentioned, Colombia, Russia, Ecuador, what did they really do for them other than buying the guy who everyone knew was the most talented rider of that country. Also, how they have done much for cycling in Italy, I don't understand. Like yeah, they signed some Italian riders, just like any other WT team, so is that your point? I think I disagree with the argument but then I'm honestly unsure what the argument is in the first place. Meanwhile the only rider that has miraculously become a gt contender since the Ineos takeover was once again from the UK.

Now, you might still be right about Ineos not being all about Brits anymore. I certainly hope you are. But I don't see the evidence yet and I'm not celebrating before I do. Also, the whole UK thing isn't really the main issue anyway. The budget is. If Ineos sign Remco and he goes on to dominate the Tour for the next decade that's gonna be just as bad.
 
The Ineos budget is simply a consequence of repeatedly winning as Sky and their renewal with more budget & each win was a consequence enforcing more confidence in Sky's directors for more spend just like any good marketing strategy should generate. What sponsor wouldn't invest maximally with such a known ROI and very minimal risk? The stats are there - they win, they return this amount of exposure, which equates to this much in traditional advertising spend and it will nearly all be realised if we can win a single 3 week race called Le Tour, because only that race won, can actually transcend cycling into the masses globally and Nationally like mainstream sports can for their sponsors. We heard it even from Lappartient this year that if Le Tour doesn't happen due to Covid, teams will financially fold regardless of the other effect of Covid on the calendar, so Le Tour clearly justifies teams existing by itself and Brailsford is fully aware of that and I'm sure they all know this too. The Monuments, Classics, Giro & Vuelta doesn't matter economically to a global or even European-wide company/sponsor and that is the 'big issue in cycling - they should, those races should be seen equally by a sponsor, then, a team winning Le Tour isn't distorting the playing field for those that didn't. It simply should be a stepping stone in the calenda like F1 or even any league, not a traditional matter whatseover! Brailsford knows this better than most, he's spoken about it countless times that he wants the pot to grow for everyone, for everyone to have more budget, but the sport needs to decide where it wants to see itself in the future in 10 years, how it wants to get there & then create a cycling product sponsors want to invest money in on terms such as Ineos & Sky are sold by Brailsford. The big issue isn't that Ineos will often win Le Tour, the big isue is not winning it makes and breaks what budget a team can get because no other race truly matters that much financially to large sponsors.
 
Well Ineos definitely didn't make the UK a cycling superpower but that's just because Sky had already done that before them. And even then, all those other countries you mentioned, Colombia, Russia, Ecuador, what did they really do for them other than buying the guy who everyone knew was the most talented rider of that country. Also, how they have done much for cycling in Italy, I don't understand. Like yeah, they signed some Italian riders, just like any other WT team, so is that your point? I think I disagree with the argument but then I'm honestly unsure what the argument is in the first place. Meanwhile the only rider that has miraculously become a gt contender since the Ineos takeover was once again from the UK.

Now, you might still be right about Ineos not being all about Brits anymore. I certainly hope you are. But I don't see the evidence yet and I'm not celebrating before I do. Also, the whole UK thing isn't really the main issue anyway. The budget is. If Ineos sign Remco and he goes on to dominate the Tour for the next decade that's gonna be just as bad.
I'm reluctant to get into this because I'm assuming something has been lost in translation, but from my perspective, here's the point.

You were lamenting that a big British sponsor left only to be replaced by another big sponsor from the United Kingdom, or "the same *** country", as you put it. My response is that INEOS is an international team and I contend that it matters very little to them whether Bernal or Thomas wins the Tour, so long as they win the Tour.

Now you say "Ineos definitely didn't make the UK a cycling superpower but that's just because Sky had already done that before them", but in your original post you complained that "couldn't the billionaire deciding to make his country a cycling superpower just have come from Austria or something?", the unmistakable implication being that it is a future project for the team to make the United Kingdom a cycling superpower, and I responded that I contend that the new ownership is less dedicated to British cycling and really the United Kingdom in general, than Sir Dave Brailsford is and Sky were. That's all.
 
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Yep and a lot of that is to do with the distorted significance of just one race being how higher budgets are accessed. F1 is probably not the best example as still distorted by the wealth of the manufacturers, but that's a different point to the context of how a cycling teams budget gets decided by a board in a company thinking about sponsoring a cycling team. A single GP in the F1 calendar isn't the be all and all of an entire season for that boards return. Each race offers similar returns, spreads risk, allows room to grow and fail before success too. Sure, the respective manufacturers want to win their home GP but the bigger picture is the Drivers Championship, just like Football a single match isn't defining anything. If you asked a non-cycling fan on your high street who is the best rider in the world, they couldn't answer. If they had to assume, they would say whoever won that years Tour de France because that's the only race they might have heard about that transcending the nerdy niche world of cycling fans into the general public consciousness anyway. It's certainly the only race often part of TV news in many countries anyway! Ask that person to find out who the best rider is this year and they simply wouldn't even know how such a thing is decided and when they do see the ranking and understand it, a team or even rider that hasn't won the sports biggest races can be the best team and rider. Tell anyone that and they just laugh. You might as well say the football team that won at this stadium is worth more points than winning at this stadium, that's how absurd it sounds to non-cycling fans when you explain how cycling is ranked,
 
Funnily enough, not F1, but there is a motorsport series were one race dwarfs them all - and is the be all and end all of the season - even above winning the World Championship: Le Mans 24 Hours, part of the WEC. Even last week we saw Porsche announce their return in 2023 to the top class of the WEC, yet most of the news outlets reported it as "Porsche returns to Le Mans" when they're actually doing the full season, so of course they're doing Le Mans.

As for the Tour, it's as much as a weakness of the sport, as it's biggest strength. If it was bringing the teams proper millions, then I could understand it - but it's not; the money is peanuts. Somehow, the problem needs sorting - and it doesn't help that those in the sport go along with it. It's only natural that the 'outsiders' keep repeating that the 'Tour is cycling'.

The Cycling Tips podcast discussion about a month ago was interesting; a segment on finances going forward; the money the ASO make, isn't anything huge - in world sporting terms, they are nowhere. Is there a promoter/ rights holder with the money/power to blow the ASO out of the water?
 
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