Not starting a Team Sky women’s squad was ‘an oversight,’ says former CEO  

Fran Millar said the decision not to start a women’s team was made at board level 

(Image credit: Getty Images)

The decision not to start a Team Sky women’s squad was “an oversight,” according to the former CEO. 

Fran Millar, who left the British WorldTour outfit in 2020 after 11 years with Sky, has revealed the decision not to a launch a women’s team in the early years was made at board level. 

In an interview with broadcaster Orla Chennaoui, for a new women’s cycling special edition of Rouleur magazine, Millar has shared her thoughts on the process of trying to establish a women’s Team Sky team. 

Millar, now CEO of Belstaff, said: “It was a decision that was made at Sky board level. I don’t think this was a Dave Brailsford decision to be fair to him. But not seizing that opportunity was, with hindsight, an oversight. There was a generation of young women that did miss out. Lizzie [Deignan] had to blaze her own trail, as have many others.”

Millar said that in the wake of the 2008 Beijing there was an opportunity to establish a British women’s squad alongside the men’s Team Sky outfit, which officially launched in 2010. 

But despite pushing for it at every board meeting, Millar said team bosses reached a decision not to launch a women’s squad and instead focus on events like the Tour de France.  

Team Sky, who recently underwent a major change of sponsor and now race under the name Ineos Grenadiers, still have no plans for a women’s team as their budget has continued to grow.

Ineos Grenadiers team principal Sir Dave Brailsford recently told The Guardian: “We haven’t got a plan but that’s not to say we won’t have” also saying changing  from Sky to Ineos in 2019 was “a big undertaking.”

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A growing number of men’s WorldTour teams have been establishing their own women’s outfits, including Lizzie Deignan’s Trek-Segafredo and mostly recently Dutch squad Jumbo-Visma, while more teams have plans to branch into the women’s side of the sport in 2022. 

Alex Ballinger
Alex Ballinger

Alex is the digital news editor for CyclingWeekly.com. After gaining experience in local newsrooms, national newspapers and in digital journalism, Alex found his calling in cycling, first as a reporter and now as news editor responsible for Cycling Weekly's online news output.

Since pro cycling first captured his heart during the 2010 Tour de France (specifically the Contador-Schleck battle) and joining CW in 2018, Alex has 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 journalism, Alex is a national level time triallist, avid gamer, and can usually be found buried in an eclectic selection of books.