Ineos Grenadiers boast multiple Grand Tour winners in their roster, making race leadership a tough decision for management, but the team have opted to give Egan Bernal, Geraint Thomas and Adam Yates their own opportunities this season.
As reported by CyclingNews, Brailsford announced that Bernal would lead the team in the Giro d’Italia, Thomas would return to the Tour de France as their chosen rider, while Yates will challenge for the Vuelta a España later in the season.
Brailsford said: “Do we put all our top riders in the Tour or spread them across the three?
“I think this gives us a nice balance across the races.”
Bernal will race the Giro d’Italia in May, his first Grand Tour since abandoning the 2020 Tour de France due to back problems.
The 24-year-old Colombian, winner of the 2019 Tour de France, has been addressing his back problems over the winter after discovering they were caused by having one leg slightly longer than the other.
Brailsford said Bernal needs to “find the joy of racing again,” suggesting he may have become too focused on results.
The team principal added that Bernal could also ride the Tour, but his main focus is the Giro.
Thomas, 34, winner of the 2018 Tour, will return to France once again after the disappointment of crashing out of the Giro d’Italia last year.
Brailsford says this year’s Tour suits Thomas’s attributes, due to the time trial kilometres, the nature of the climbs, and the chances of crosswinds in the opening week, and that the Welshman is highly motivated to perform.
Richard Carapaz, winner of the 2019 Giro d’Italia, will also ride the Tour along with last year’s Giro winner Tao Geoghegan Hart, Brailsford confirmed.
For the Vuelta new signing Adam Yates, who parted ways with Mitchelton-Scott (and his twin brother Simon) at the end of last season, will be given his first Grand Tour leadership in Ineos colours.