Steven De Jongh: 'I don't look back at that Team Sky period with joy'

The Dutchman spent two years as a sports director at the British WorldTour team

(Image credit: Yuzuru SUNADA)

Team Sky never even stopped to enjoy its victories such as those in the Tour de France, says former sports director Steven De Jongh.

De Jongh now works with Trek-Segafredo with Bauke Mollema, Richie Porte and starting in 2020, Vincenzo Nibali. He spent two years, 2011 and 2012 with Team Sky.

"I don't look back on the period that I worked there with much joy," the Dutchman told Wielerflits (opens in new tab). "Sir David Brailsford was not the most pleasant person to work with, to put it simply.

"I missed the cycling experience. If there was a win, it was normal. The moment was never enjoyed. With Brailsford, I had the idea that he did it more for his own ego than for cycling."

The team since changing sponsor this May 1, races as Team Ineos. Team principal David Brailsford led the team since their beginning in 2010 and has overseen seven Tour de France titles with Bradley Wiggins, Chris Froome, Geraint Thomas and this summer, 22-year-old Colombian Egan Bernal.

>>> Tom Dumoulin back in competition at mountain bike beach race

In 2013, Brailsford was knighted by the Queen at Buckingham Palace after a successful 2012 season with Wiggins winning the Tour de France and Great Britain taking gold medals in the London Olympics. For many years, he was also the performance director of British Cycling.

The end of 2012 also saw Team Sky re-confirm their zero-tolerance stance and part ways with many staff members including Bobby Julich, Sean Yates and Steven De Jongh. De Jongh admitted at the time that he used blood booster EPO in his career as a professional cyclist.

De Jongh went to the Tinkoff-Saxo Bank team with Yates and helped Alberto Contador win the 2014 Vuelta a España and the 2015 Giro d'Italia. Since 2017, he is working with American team Trek-Segafredo.

In the same interview, he revealed that the team also tried to sign Tom Dumoulin, winner of the 2017 Giro d'Italia and second in both the 2018 Giro d'Italia and Tour de France. Dumoulin, who fell out with Sunweb, is switching to Jumbo-Visma for 2020.

"At Team Sunweb they have so many rules and protocols," De Jongh told Wielerflits. "Tom had outgrown that. For champions like him you have to make exceptions.

"His name was also mentioned with us, because he really wanted to leave. He was dead and unhappy. If you both feel that you are on a dead end, you have to look for a solution."

Dumoulin returned to racing for the first time since June. He took part in a mountain bike race on Sunday.

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Gregor Brown
Gregor Brown

Gregor Brown is an experienced cycling journalist, based in Florence, Italy. He has covered races all over the world for over a decade - following the Giro, Tour de France, and every major race since 2006. His love of cycling began with freestyle and BMX, before the 1998 Tour de France led him to a deep appreciation of the road racing season.