Sir Jim Ratcliffe: Team Ineos have taken sport and science to a level we’ve not seen before

Ratcliffe discusses why he bought the team while appearing on Luke Rowe and Geraint Thomas’s podcast

Team Sky's new back Sir Jim Ratcliffe (Photo: DIRK WAEM/AFP/Getty Images)
(Image credit: AFP/Getty Images)

Sir Jim Ratcliffe says Team Ineos has taken sport and science to a new level in cycling, as he explained his reasons for taking over the British WorldTour team.

British billionaire Ratcliffe appeared on a podcast hosted by Ineos riders Luke Rowe and Geraint Thomas to discuss his motivation for saving the squad earlier this year.

Ratcliffe’s chemical company Ineos stepped in to take over the team earlier this year, after long-time back Sky announced it would be ending its sponsorship after a decade in cycling.

Speaking on Watt’s Occurring (opens in new tab), the podcast released by Welsh pair Thomas and Rowe, Ratcliffe said: “One of the reasons we bought it is because of the sporting excellence in the team.

“It’s not an accident you’ve been so successful as a team. You’ve taken the science of sport and cycling to a level we’ve not seen in that sport before, which is why you’ve been so successful.

“That’s quite interesting in Ineos because we have various sports angles and hopefully it will creep into other areas in football and sailing.”

Team Sky was first founded by Sir Dave Brailsford in 2010 with the ambition of winner the Tour de France with a British rider, completing that goal in 2012 with Sir Bradley Wiggins, going on to win the yellow jersey on multiple occasions with Chris Froome, Geraint Thomas and Egan Bernal.

Ineos came on board in 2019 as the sponsor and owner, adding the cycling team to its expanding sport sponsorship, which also includes an America’s Cup sailing team and OGC Nice football club.

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When asked why he decided to sponsor the cycling team, Ratcliffe said: “Because we could, partly. It’s a bit like us doing deals in chemicals. We look at things that pop up. We don’t always necessarily plan ahead.

“We didn’t expect the opportunity to arise but Sky decided to step out.

“Ineos is primarily in chemicals and petrochemicals so it has no consumer face. It doesn’t matter if the consumer knows or doesn’t know u, but we’ve started to get into fashion with [buying motorcycle fashion group] Belstaff and the new car we’re developing, the Grenadier .

“It becomes more important that ‘were recognised out in the public arena and of course buying the world’s finest cycling team covers a lot of territories.

“It’s a sport that’s growing compared to 10 or 20 years ago.

“Some sports are dying like golf, squash things like that. Cycling continues to take off. The Tour de France particularly captivates half the planet every year.”

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Alex Ballinger

Alex Ballinger is editor of BikeBiz magazine, the leading publication for the UK cycle industry, and is the former digital news editor for After gaining experience in local newsrooms, national newspapers and in digital journalism, Alex found his calling in cycling, first as a reporter, then as news editor responsible for Cycling Weekly's online news output, and now as the editor of BikeBiz. Since pro cycling first captured his heart during the 2010 Tour de France (specifically the Contador-Schleck battle) Alex covered three Tours de France, multiple editions of the Tour of Britain, and the World Championships, while both writing and video presenting for Cycling Weekly. He also specialises in fitness writing, often throwing himself into the deep end to help readers improve their own power numbers.  Away from the desk, Alex can be found racing time trials, riding BMX and mountain bikes, or exploring off-road on his gravel bike. He’s also an avid gamer, and can usually be found buried in an eclectic selection of books.