Brailsford admits Thomas proved Ineos management wrong at Tour de France | Tour de France


Ineos sporting director Dave Brailsford hailed the Tour de France performances of Geraint Thomas and rookie Tom Pidcock – in which the Welsh veteran finished third and the 22-year-old took a spectacular stage victory at Alpe d’Huez – while admitting the 36-year-old has proven the team’s management to be poor.

Brailsford said Thomas’ performance was “to be greatly admired”, adding: “He brought his years and years of experience to it and that’s what earned him third place in this year’s Tour. He was brilliant, we saw the best version of himself, everyone thinks it’s a very satisfying performance for him and for the team.

But Brailsford also admitted that Thomas’ enduring ambition might have been underestimated by the team’s management. Asked if Thomas had proven a point to those at Ineos who had doubted him, Brailsford replied: ‘Well if I were him I would have a wry smile on my face, let’s face it -the. We sat down and agreed that he would be a role model for the young guys, a perfect teammate, and I think that slightly relaxed approach worked.

“Basically, he hasn’t taken the wrong foot all season. He is a natural mentor. Ultimately, the best young racers watch the best older racers and for Tom [Pidcock] and the others to watch Geraint and see how he performs, well, they’ll get a lot out of it.

Pidcock finished 17th overall on his first lap but also took a remarkable stage win on the coveted Alpe d’Huez climb, a success that combined his fearless downhill skills with a display of climbing inspired. “His victory in Alpe d’Huez sums it up well,” said Brailsford. “He was respected for winning but also loved for the way of winning.”

When asked if Pidcock could become a Tour contender in the coming years, Brailsford was more reserved. “I think if you cut his wings, you take away the personality and the rider that he is. The mistake would be to drop him into a very sterile approach because I’m not sure it’s good for him.

“He needs to be able to be himself. I think he can aim for the Tour in the future, but to get there he has to be true to his authentic self and his authentic self is a brilliant cyclist on all terrains.

Brailsford, who travels to Portugal on behalf of OGC Nice as they complete their pre-season preparation, was not present on the Tour for the first time in a decade but remains in place as manager of the Ineos Grenadiers team and was in daily contact with the team. director, Rod Ellingworth.

“I have a fantastic working relationship with Rod, the team and the riders,” he said. “Going into this year with the role I have now, it was still a very different year for me and the way I allocate my time, but I was in constant contact with Rod and we know each other inside out. We talked pretty much daily, every day the performance team meets and writes a report and I get it every night.

Twelve months ago, Ineos Grenadiers accepted the domination of Tadej Pogacar, as he celebrated his second victory on the Tour. Now they must take on the challenge of the juggernaut that is Jonas Vingaard’s Jumbo-Visma super-team.

Dave Brailsford says he doesn’t expect Jumbo-Visma’s Jonas Vingaard to prove invincible after winning the Tour. Photography: Marco Bertorello/AFP/Getty Images

“In cycling, we all always come to these big conclusions, like last year, that Pogacar will be invincible and, like the first week of the race this year, when everyone thought he had won,” Brailsford said. .

“But sport is not like that. Pogacar is not invincible and he [the Tour] didn’t end the way people predicted. The idea that there were two runners going there [Pogacar and Vingegaard] and no one else, that everyone was making up the numbers – I just don’t believe it.

“We always consider someone invincible and they never will be. It happened with [Chris] Froome, [Egan] Bernal, and now Pogacar. We’ll see how Vingeard fares.


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