By Jonny Long
Dave Brailsford could hardly contain himself as he was introduced on Eurosport by Bernie Eisel after Tao Geoghegan Hart had secured victory at the Giro d'Italia, throwing his arms around his former rider in celebration before giving us the Davey B post-match analysis of how the 2020 Giro unfolded.
"When we started out Geraint was the leader, and when you think about what happened here, Filippo [Ganna] set the scene. Coming with the rainbow bands, got the TT sorted, got the pink jersey, then a massive disappointment Geraint going home," Brailsford began, of Ineos' rollercoaster first few days at the 2020 Italian Grand Tour.
"Filippo won that road stage in the hills everybody was like 'wow...that's an incredible performance'. That inspired everybody and we thought you know what guys let's just open the race up, everybody race for stages, give everybody an opportunity, and Tao just follow everyone on GC.
"And I think he liked that, he grew into the role, there was no pressure on him, it was an adventure every day, he was getting better and better."
Brailsford gives deserved credit to Rohan Dennis, who successfully dispatched Sunweb's Wilco Kelderman over the two tough mountain days in the final week, to leave Geoghegan Hart with just Jai Hindley to deal with in securing the maglia rosa.
"Rohan Dennis has to have a mention in this because he was unbelievable here. However, I would say for Tao there was a moment in this race when he switched from being 'maybe, maybe, maybe' to 'I can do this'. He's a geezer at the end of the day. Him and Bradley Wiggins, London has something about it."
The 56-year-old then recalled the Hollywood-ready story of how his latest British Grand Tour champion bunked off school to attend the Team Sky launch a decade ago.
"The story I like about Tao is that when we started the team he bunked off school to ride behind the other guys, dreaming of being a pro and now coming into the team and winning a Grand Tour. It's the stuff of comic books really," Brailsford said.
As for how his team went about winning the race, Brailsford cherished the fact they did it with attacking racing, rather than the defensive, Ineos-train style that viewers have grown used to at Grand Tours over the last decade.
"What I like about this is we've done the train, the defensive style of riding, won a lot doing that, but it's not much fun compared to this.
"The sport is about racing, the emotion, the exhilarating moments and that's where we want to be."
Brailsford saved his last words for the man missing from their celebrations. Nico Portal.
"A lot of people have contributed to this victory, and we can't think about that without thinking about Nico. Everybody in this team has supported Tao along the way and we can't forget that."
Hi. I'm Cycling Weekly's Weekend Editor. I like writing offbeat features and eating too much bread when working out on the road at bike races. I'm 6'0", 26 years old, have a strong hairline and have an adequate amount of savings for someone my age. I'm very single at the minute so if you know anyone, hit me up.
Before joining Cycling Weekly I worked at The Tab, reporting about students evacuating their bowels on nightclub dancefloors and consecrating their love on lecture hall floors. I've also written for Vice, Time Out, and worked freelance for The Telegraph (I know, but I needed the money at the time so let me live).
I also worked for ITV Cycling between 2011-2018 on their Tour de France and Vuelta a España coverage. Sometimes I'd be helping the producers make the programme and other times I'd be getting the lunches. Just in case you were wondering - Phil Liggett and Paul Sherwen had the same ham sandwich every day, it was great.
Chrome Industries to use Panaracer tyre compound for grippier soles
Chrome Industries cycling apparel brand team up with Japanese tyre manufacture Panaracer for a new footwear collaboration
By Hannah Bussey •
Paris-Roubaix 2021 men’s start list
Here are the riders competing in the delayed cobbled Monument
By Cycling Weekly •
Sir Dave Brailsford says Ineos planned to attack from the first gravel sector at Giro d’Italia 2021
‘The goal was Filippo goes into the first section first and just puts the hammer down’
By Alex Ballinger •
David Brailsford: 'I consider my position every day'
Team Sky principal Sir David Brailsford says that he has thought about his position at the head of the British WorldTour team after recent controversies
By Gregor Brown •
Dave Brailsford: ‘Geraint is one of the toughest…but it was clear he couldn’t continue’
Team Sky boss Dave Brailsford says there's plenty for Geraint Thomas to look forward to this season despite his nightmare at the Giro d'Italia
By Gregor Brown •
Sky still to decide Giro d'Italia GC plans, says Brailsford
Illness has caused the British team to look again at plans for the first Grand Tour of the season
By Gregor Brown •