Chris Froome said the loss of longtime British Cycling and Team Sky performance director Rod Ellingworth is ‘a big blow’.
Ellingworth coached Mark Cavendish and Geraint Thomas, oversaw the successful BC Under 23 Academy programme and helped start Team Sky with Sir Dave Brailsford.
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But after a decade with Team Sky, Ellingworth is leaving the new-look Team Ineos to take up a role at rival outfit Bahrain-Merida.
“Rod’s been there from the very start for me, even before the Team Sky days,” Froome said.
“It is a big blow. Suddenly we’re going to miss Rod Ellingworth at Team Ineos going forward.
“We obviously wish him all the best, he’s only going to keep adding a wealth of knowledge and experience to his new team in the future.”
Ineos officially took over Team Sky on Wednesday (May 1), marking a new chapter for the British team. Ellingworth, now the performance director, was a founding member of the team in 2010.
His new employer has yet to announce the move or what confirm what position Ellingworth will take up.
“He was extremely good at planning and organising all the pieces behind the scenes that bike riders don’t necessarily see all the time but I know Rod was fundamental to a lot of the big decisions behind the scenes,” said Froome. “He’ll take a lot of that knowledge to his new team in the future.”
Bahrain-Merida has reigning time trial world champion Rohan Dennis in its ranks, while star Grand Tour rider Vincenzo Nibali is due to leave for Trek-Segafredo in 2020. The team is expected to bring on board Mikel Landa from Movistar.
British motorsport giant McLaren has become a 50 percent partner Bahrain-Merida, so further changes are anticipated.
Sir Jim Ratcliffe said he would not tinker much with the successful formula at Team Ineos, which as brought in eight Grand Tour wins so far.
“The team is constantly changing. Now we have a generation of younger riders. It changes all the time,” Froome continued.
“If Jim himself is personally going to have much to do with it or if he’s going to leave it to Dave Brailsford to run the show – it sounds like Jim is happy to leave Dave to it.”
Froome is racing the Tour de Yorkshire, which will be Ineos’s first race in its new burgundy kit.
“It will be my first time at the Tour de Yorkshire itself and if the scenes are anything like they were when the Tour de France came through Yorkshire, I think it will be an extremely enjoyable week and good racing.”