Rod Ellingworth leaves Bahrain-McLaren after just one season 

The team had become a strong contender in Grand Tours under Ellingworth’s leadership 

(Image credit: GodingImages/PA Images)

Rod Ellingworth is leaving Bahrain-McLaren after just one season as team principal. 

The Brit, a founding member of Team Sky who has coached stars like Geraint Thomas and Mark Cavendish, joined the Bahraini WorldTour team at the end of 2019 in the hopes of building a Grand Tour-winning outfit.

But after 14 months at the helm Ellingworth is departing the team, having worked just one full season with the squad. 

Ellingworth said: “The time has come for me to move on. I have thoroughly enjoyed the chance to lead this team. There has been some fantastic momentum, and I feel I leave the team in a strong position.

“We’ve worked well together in this global pandemic to keep racing and have achieved some fantastic results. The team has pulled together and tried hard to keep everyone safe. The team were united through tough times, and it was a pleasure to be part of it. One of the highlights for me was achieving a fourth place in the general classification at the Tour de France.”

The team has secured four top-10 placings in Grand Tours under Ellingworth’s leadership, including fourth in the Tour de France with former Team Sky rider Mikel Landa.

Ellingworth also bought his old mentee Cavendish into the team on a one-year contract, in the hopes of reinvigorating the sprinter’s career, while also signing Wout Poels to give the former Team Sky rider his own shot at general classification leadership. 

But Bahrain-McLaren has also had sponsorship difficulties to deal with, as motorsport giant McLaren announced it would be pulling out at the end of 2020 after just one season as a headline sponsor. 

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A spokesperson from Team Bahrain McLaren said: “We would like to take this opportunity to thank Rod for the expertise and wisdom he imparted on the team. The performance first ethos and winning mindset he instilled in every team member will endure. We wish Rod all the very best for the future.” 

Ellingworth added: “I want to thank the whole team for all their hard work and dedication. I wish the team all the best for the future and will follow their progress and progression. I’d like to thank the team’s founder, His Highness Shaikh Nasser, for his dedication and continued support of cycling.” 

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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.