Team Wiggins-Le Col have produced a number of current British professional riders, and their closure will leave a gap in British cycling, says Owain Doull (Ineos).
Doull joined the WIGGINS team in its first year in 2015 and graduated to the professional ranks with Team Sky, now Ineos, at the end of 2016. He began his first Grand Tour on Saturday at the Vuelta a España, where he heard the news of his former team’s closure.
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“It’s a pity because obviously that’s such a good pathway in, an easy way for the young British talent to have a safe environment to be well supported,” Doull told Cycling Weekly.
“And in a team which has contacts and knows how to develop riders, there’ll be a gap missing from that now which is unfortunate. But you know, I think the depth of talent in the UK is so good that there’s a lot of other good development teams out there, which they can probably easily get into.”
Doull won the points classification and placed third overall in the Tour of Britain in 2015. He graduated from the team to the WorldTour ranks alongside riders such as Ineos team-mate Christopher Lawless, James Knox (Deceuninck-Quick Step), and Scott Davies (Dimension Data).
Wiggins – Le Col said in a statement it has “taken the decision that the operation has come to its natural conclusion.” Their next race, as they wrap up their five-year run, will be the Tour of Britain.
“I think some stuff always has to come to an end. But for those five years it was pretty remarkable,” Doull continued.
“We were on the bus earlier chatting about the number of British guys, or even the French guy who turned pro, and it was about 12 guys in those five years to go to a WorldTour or Pro Continental squad, which is a pretty good turnover rate. There’s a lot of guys and it’s nice to have that alumni and I guess a kind of legacy the team can leave behind.”
The team’s current roster includes 20-year-old star Tom Pidcock, who had not planned on joining a WorldTour team in 2020. Now, with the decision for the team to stop, Pidcock will have to decide.
This year the Brit won both the U23 Paris-Roubaix race and took the overall classification at the Tour Alsace, achieving a summit victory at La Planche des Belles Filles on his way to the win. However, he was recently hospitalised after crashing out at the Tour de l’Avenir, where he was winning the points classification and was looking good to mount a GC challenge in the latter stages of the race.
Pidcock should return to training next week, however, and recover in time for the Yorkshire World Championships.