Sir Dave Brailsford Ineos Grenadiers “continued to work with their heads down, but didn’t notice other teams were overtaking them,” as the British squad looks to reinvent itself in 2021.
The British WorldTour team lost their stranglehold on the Tour de France this year, as reigning champion Egan Bernal was unable to defend his title and eventually abandoned the race.
Ineos is undergoing a major shake-up for the 2021 season, signing a host of new riders while team CEO Fran Millar has left the squad after 11 years.
In an interview with Belgian newspaper Het Nieuwsblad, team principal Brailsford said: “We continued to work with our heads down and did not notice that other teams were overtaking us us.
“We cannot afford to keep working the way we did. We have come to the point where we have to admit that other teams have passed us and that it is time for a different approach.”
Brailsford added that the team need to take a step back and think about their approach to the next five years.
Ineos have been the dominant team in the Tour de France since their first win in 2012, taking six of the last eight editions with four different riders.
But the team’s control of the race appeared to slip in the 2020 edition, with Jumbo-Visma taking over as the controlling team as Bernal fell out of contention.
For next year, Ineos have signed a wave of new and familiar talent including British star Tom Pidcock and former Team Sky rider Richie Porte.
But the team have also parted ways with their long-standing CEO Fran Millar, who has moved across to be CEO of the clothing brand Belstaff, owned by chemical company Ineos.
Announcing her departure, Millar said: “Leaving the sport I grew up in was tough, but leaving a team I helped build, filled with incredible staff and riders I genuinely love broke my heart a little bit, but I was offered an incredible new challenge that I’d have been silly to turn down.
“The last 11 years with Sky/Ineos were the dictionary definition of unreal. I have to pinch myself sometimes that it all actually happened. There’ve been some indescribable, mind-blowing highs and some heartbreaking, gut-wrenching lows. I wouldn’t change a single day of it.”
Ineos have also suffered some bad luck at the Giro d’Italia, with Geraint Thomas crashing out of the race after hitting a stray bidon in the neutral section of stage three.
Luckily Filippo Ganna has saved the day for the team, taking two stage victories in his debut Grand Tour.