Opinion: Ineos Grenadiers are losing the cycling off-season

Missing out on Primož Roglič and Remco Evenepoel has left the squad looking a bit light for 2024

Ineos Grenadiers
(Image credit: Getty Images)
Adam Becket
Adam Becket

Senior news and feature writer at Cycling Weekly, Adam brings his weekly opinion on the goings on at the upper echelons of our sport. 

This piece is part of The Leadout, the offering of newsletters from Cycling Weekly and Cyclingnews. To get this in your inbox, subscribe here.

Ineos Grenadiers have a general classification problem. The once dominant team are still one of the best in the world, fourth in the world according to the UCI, cycling’s governing body's rankings, but they have failed to win a WorldTour stage race overall for the first time since its first year of existence, 2010.

They still have one more chance, at the Tour of Guangxi, but this is hardly the level of race the formerly pre-eminent GC squad is aiming for. The last Grand Tour they won was the 2021 Giro d’Italia, which might not sound too long ago, but there have been eight opportunities to correct that since then, all missed.

It might not seem the obvious result of the Jumbo-Visma and Soudal Quick-Step merger failing, but Ineos might have now missed out on the opportunity to raid the market for star riders. No quick grab for Remco Evenepoel will happen, and the team missed out on Primož Roglič.

The team needs that talent injection. The British billionaire Jim Ratcliffe-backed squad won 12 Grand Tours, including seven Tours de France, between 2011 and 2021, but has since been off the pace. The reason is pretty simple really, that Ineos Grenadiers has missed out on the generational GC talents currently lighting up the sport of cycling - there is no Evenepoel, Tadej Pogačar or Jonas Vingegaard in Ineos red, nor is there Roglič, or even Sepp Kuss, the surprise winner of the Vuelta a España this year. 

Egan Bernal was supposed to be part of that club, but due to misfortune and a life-threatening crash, might never reach the heights once destined for him. Geraint Thomas is a solid operator, but will be 38 before next year’s Tour, while Carlos Rodríguez and Tom Pidcock might come good in GC racing, but are currently not at the level of the riders named above.

The team does not have one rider in the UCI’s ranking of the top 10 riders, and only one in the top 25 - Filippo Ganna.

It’s partly bad luck, but also a suboptimal recruitment strategy that has seen the team that was the best in the world five years ago end up in this situation, watching Jumbo-Visma and UAE Team Emirates move ahead of them. The decision to let Tao Geoghegan Hart, Pavel Sivakov, and Dani Martínez leave the team, means Ineos looks very light for 2024, although, granted, none of these riders fulfilled their promise, and are not at the galactico level. They have not signed anyone new for 2024 yet to replace them, either.

The team was thought to be the desired location of Evenepoel or Roglič, but with the former staying at Quick-Step and the latter moving to Bora-Hansgrohe, Ineos has missed out on two simple opportunities to right the ship, and instead the question marks remain.

It might take yet another year in purgatory before the squad are back where they want to be, at the top. Can the team stomach yet another season without a Grand Tour win?

More on this

Primož Roglic joins Bora-Hansgrohe from Jumbo-Visma

Primoz Roglic thought about moving teams 'since beginning of the year'

I'm staying at Soudal-QuickStep' - Remco Evenepoel ends reports of move to Ineo

Merger between Jumbo-Visma and Soudal Quick-Step is off, say Belgian reports

Il Lombardia, and the end of a long season

Tadej Pogačar

(Image credit: Getty Images)

Saturday saw Il Lombardia, the race of the falling leaves, the last Monument of the year, the penultimate WorldTour race. For the third year in a row, it was won by Tadej Pogačar, who can't stop reminding us that he really is the best bike rider in the world.

The race was more notable to me, however, for it being Thibaut Pinot's last race as a professional. I wrote a heartfelt piece about what that meant to me on Friday, which I would love if you read.

Elsewhere, Kasia Niewiadoma of Poland won the women's UCI Gravel World Championships, a race which was overshadowed by the lack of TV coverage for the women's event. The next day, Matej Mohorič of Slovenia won the men's equivalent, in a race which was - you guessed it - broadcast.

More on this

Pogačar seals Lombardy hat-trick: 'I enjoyed the last few kilometres, even though it was so, so painful'

Farewell Thibaut Pinot: Once more with feeling

5 conclusions from the 2023 UCI Gravel World Championships

Wout van Aert rides Gravel World Championships faster than winner, finishes 8th

This piece is part of The Leadout, the offering of newsletters from Cycling Weekly and Cyclingnews. To get this in your inbox, subscribe here.

If you want to get in touch with Adam, email adam.becket@futurenet.com.

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