With teams like Jumbo-Visma improving drastically, Team Ineos say that they have to keep up in cycling’s arms race or risk falling behind as new generations come through.
Team Ineos won the Tour de France with 22 year-old Egan Bernal this summer and announced for 2020 other new talents like Richard Carapaz, the Giro d’Italia winner, will join. They add to a roster that already includes Chris Froome, Geraint Thomas, Tao Geoghegan Hart and Pavel Sivakov.
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“Everyone is at a different point in his career,” Portal told Cyclism’Actu. “This is not the first time that we have a lot of talents, young people and old people. We have a lot of communication in the team [so it works]. For the moment, it’s going well.
“We must think about the future and Richard [Carapaz] also wanted to join us. We have Froomey and Geraint Thomas, who are confirmed riders, and we have Egan Bernal, who will continue, hopefully anyway. We must work on the future, on riders like Pavel, like Carapaz. It’s unclear how long Froomey and G are going to be able to keep going like they are, a few years or maybe not, so it’s important to become stronger.
“The other teams around us are also reinforcing. When we see Team Jumbo-Visma, in the space of a few months, they have gone from a very good team to a very strong armada for 2020. There is always team Movistar and other teams too, so we must strengthen and think about the future.”
Ineos leads the way in budget, about £40 million, and can afford to pick up top riders to beef up their roster. On Monday, they announced the signing of 2018 and 2019 time trial world champion, Rohan Dennis.
Jumbo-Visma, even with a smaller budget estimated at €20 million [£16.8m], are causing waves. This year, it won four stages in the Tour de France, including the team time trial, and the Vuelta a España overall title with Primož Roglič.
For 2020, the Dutch team are adding Tom Dumoulin to the mix. The Dutchman won the 2017 Giro, and placed second behind Froome in the 2018 edition and second behind Thomas in the Tour later that summer.
Froome for years ruled the Tour de France. He nearly won the 2012 Tour but had to stay loyal to help team-mate Bradley Wiggins to do so. However he returned to win in 2013, 2015, 2016 and 2017.
The future is unknown for 34-year-old Froome. though. He fractured his leg in a training crash this June and sat out the remainder of 2019. It is unclear if he can reach the top again even if he says he is motivated further by the accident to win the Tour again for a record-equalling fifth title.
“Knowing him, he will give himself a goal, which is the Tour. He has this goal of the Tour, he really wants to win a fifth Tour to go down in history,” Portal continued.
“But it’s true that it’s going to be complicated. Recover, I think it’ll do it. But recover 100 per cent at his best level, it will be complicated. We hopes he can anyway, we support him 100 per cent. It’s not nothing what he’s done, it’s already huge that he’s been able to start riding again as he did a few weeks ago.”