Team Sky funding boost under Ineos sparks budget cap discussions

Team budget caps could be discussed, though new funding in the sport is considered healthy by UCI president

Ben Swift at the 2019 Tour de la Provence (Photo by Luc Claessen/Getty Images)
(Image credit: Getty Images)

Team bosses and the UCI's president have raised questions over fairness within cycling as Team Sky's budget is set to increase under new sponsor, Ineos.

>>> Who are Sir Jim Ratcliffe and Ineos, Team Sky’s potential new sponsors? 

The British WorldTour outfit will change its name to Team Ineos on May 1, with funding coming from the chemical giant owned by Britain's richest man, Sir Jim Ratcliffe.

The team already had a budget of approximately €40 million euros (£34.3 million), and it has been rumoured that the takeover will mean more money, not less.

Rivals are estimated to be 'getting by' on budgets closer to 15-20 million.

Team Sky has won six of the last seven editions of the Tour de France, and their dominance sparked discussions over a possible team budget cap last year.

It was suggested that being able to afford a high number of strong riders meant that Team Sky was "blocking" races, by having a dominant force patrolling the front of the bunch on the climbs whilst leader's of lesser teams had limited support.

The suggestion of a further increase has brought those comments back to the surface.

In a BBC podcast, EF Education First manager Jonathan Vaughters said: “You’re purchasing the ability to win.

“You’re looking at an almost impenetrable wall of money. You can basically go buy all the best riders. The question for the sport is if they are all on one team, is it fun for spectators to watch?”

President of the Union Cycliste Internationale (UCI), David Lappartient told Reuters on Wednesday that a budget cap, to preserve fairness, is something that could "be discussed."

He said: “I understand there can be concerns that the team with the biggest budget can have all the best riders and it affects the uncertainty of sport.”

Lappartient has brought up the idea of budget caps before, saying in November 2017: “I am against a salary cap for the riders, cyclists can earn as much as they want and teams have to pay as much for a rider as they want.”

“What I am talking about is introducing a ceiling for the team’s budget in general, which means that if you pay a certain rider a high wage, you will have less money left for other riders. That means you would naturally have the strong riders better divided among various teams.”

However, the UCI president also called the arrival of a new sponsor "healthy" for the sport, noting "one of our objectives is to have an economy that is more solid.”

Alongside the arrival of Ineos, oil and gas business Total has also been linked to French team Direct Energie, in a move expect to take place in 2020.

Patrick Lefevere, the manager of Belgian team Deceuninck-Quick Step, welcomed the arrival of the new funding streams, saying: “If it’s true that Ineos and Total are making their entry in cycling then this is fantastic news for cycling. [I] hope that others will follow.”

Michelle Arthurs-Brennan
Michelle Arthurs-Brennan

Michelle Arthurs-Brennan is Cycling Weekly's Tech Editor, and is responsible for managing the tech news and reviews both on the website and in Cycling Weekly magazine.


A traditional journalist by trade, Arthurs-Brennan began her career working for a local newspaper, before spending a few years at Evans Cycles, then combining writing and her love of bicycles first at Total Women's Cycling and then Cycling Weekly. 


When not typing up reviews, news, and interviews Arthurs-Brennan is a road racer who also enjoys track riding and the occasional time trial, though dabbles in off-road riding too (either on a mountain bike, or a 'gravel bike'). She is passionate about supporting grassroots women's racing and founded the women's road race team 190rt.


She rides bikes of all kinds, but favourites include a custom carbon Werking road bike as well as the Specialized Tarmac SL6. 


Height: 166cm

Weight: 56kg


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