Ineos Grenadiers

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Luke Plapp

Photo: Ineos Grenadiers (Image credit: Ineos Grenadiers)

Ineos Grenadiers was formed in 2010, as Team Sky.

The British squad entered the professional peloton with the aim of winning the Tour de France with a home rider within five years, something that they achieved when Bradley Wiggins became the first British winner in 2012.

This has been followed up with four more victories for Chris Froome in 2013, 2015, 2016, and 2017 - the latter year in which he also won the Vuelta a España twice in 2011 and 2017, which he then followed up with victory at the 2018 Giro d'Italia, with Team Sky becoming one of the most successful teams in world cycling.

However, the team has faced a fair amount of controversy. Firstly, when Wiggins's 2011 Critérium du Dauphiné victory was put into question following reports of a mysterious package delivered to Team Sky at the race.

Facing MPs, team manager Dave Brailsford claimed the infamous Jiffy bag contained the decongestant Fluimucil, intended for Wiggins - but this has never been proven.

More recently, questions were raised around Chris Froome, following an adverse analytical finding (AAF) for salbutamol at the 2017 Vuelta a España.

Froome's blood contained twice the permissible limit of the asthma drug, Sabutamol, but after a protracted process, he was found not guilty of any anti-doping violation and was allowed to compete at the 2018 Tour de France.

The team became Team Ineos in 2019 after Sky decided to pull its sponsorship from the team. Ineos, a British chemical company, took over sponsorship in May 2019 with the team making their debut in new red and black colours at the Tour de Yorkshire.

In August 2020 they changed name and look yet again, with the name changing to Ineos Grenadiers, to advertise the new 4x4 car that Ineos had started making.

Heading into 2022

Team Ineos' history

The Ineos Grenadiers - then called Team Sky - was formed in 2010 with a 26-man squad including eight British riders alongside overseas riders such as Edvald Boasson Hagen, Simon Gerrans and Juan Antonio Flecha.

Sky Professional Cycling, as Team Ineos was called in their first season, achieved immediate success, with Greg Henderson winning the Cancer Council Helpline Classic criterium before the Tour Down Under on their first race as a team.

Flecha also delivered the team with a strong start on the cobbles, winning Omloop Het Nieuwsblad, while Bradley Wiggins briefly wore the pink jersey at the Giro d'Italia after winning the opening time trial before being caught up in a crash on stage two.

bradley wiggins team sky giro podium

Team Sky got off to a dream start in Grand Tours when Bradley Wiggins won the opening stage of the 2010 Giro d'Italia (Sunada)

However there was less success at the Tour de France, where Wiggins was unable to reproduce the form that had taken him to third place in the 2009 race, eventually finishing in 22nd place, nearly 40 minutes behind the winner.

Team Sky again delivered a strong start to the season in 2011, with Ben Swift taking two stage wins at the Tour Down Under, while Wiggins showed a return to some sort of climbing form as he finished third in Paris-Nice, while Geraint Thomas showed a hint of his future Classics potential with second in Dwars Door Vlaanderen.

Wiggins then took victory in the Critérium du Dauphiné to provide perfect preparation for another tilt at the Tour de France.

bradley wiggins team sky criterium du dauphine

However Wiggins's 2011 Critérium du Dauphiné victory has since been partially overshadowed by revelations about a package delivered to Team Sky at the race.

In December 2017, team manager Dave Brailsford told MPs that the package contained the decongestant Fluimucil, intended for Wiggins, although evidence to prove that this was indeed the contents of the infamous Jiffy bag have yet to be provided.

The opening stages of the 2011 Tour de France went well for Team Sky, with the team taking third place on stage two's team time trial, to put Wiggins in a strong position in the overall classification.

However disaster struck on stage seven, when Wiggins crashed heavily, breaking his collarbone and having to abandon the race. That led to a change of approach for Team Sky, with riders going in search of stage victories, and Edvald Boasson Hagen delivering two wins.

Better luck came at the 2011 Vuelta a España, which saw the emergence of Chris Froome as a general classification as he took second in the race behind Juan José Cobo.

Froome took the leader's red jersey on stage 10 of the race as he out-performed team leader Wiggins in a 47km time trial, but lost the lead on the next stage as he was put on domestique duties for Wiggins on a summit finish.

chris froome team sky 2011 vuelta a espana

Chris Froome in the 2011 Vuelta a Espana, where he finished second overall

However on the crucial stage 15 to Alto de l'Angliru Wiggins was struggling again, and as the Team Sky leader faded, Froome followed Cobo, who went on to win the stage and take the leader's jersey, with Froome moving to second overall and Wiggins third, which would remain their positions to the finish in Madrid.

But, in 2020, Cobo was found to have won with the help of performance enhancing drugs and had the race title stripped from him and given to Froome, making him the first British rider to win a Grand Tour.

The 2012 season saw the arrival of world champion Mark Cavendish at Team Sky, with lead-out man Bernard Eisel also making the switch to Sky from HTC-Highroad. They were also joined by climbing domestiques such as Richie Porte and Sergio Henao.

Mark Cavendish Team Sky

Mark Cavendish joined Team Sky in 2012 (Watson)

Wiggins started off the 2012 season in impressive style, winning both Paris-Nice and the Tour de Romandie, as he geared up to his main target of the season, the Tour de France.

Team Sky had a dominant 2012 Tour de France. Wiggins kicked the race off in perfect style with second place to Fabian Cancellara in the prologue, and then moved into the yellow jersey on the first mountain stage to La Planche des Belle Filles.

Looking comfortable over the next few stages, Wiggins was then put in a bit of trouble when team-mate Froome moved clear on stage 11's summit finish to La Toussuire, before being called back to help his team leader. Despite the drama Wiggins's lead was extended beyond two minutes by the end of the day, with Froome moving up to second.

The would remain their positions all the way to Paris, with Wiggins only extending his advantage in the time trial on the penultimate stage, eventually riding into Paris as the first British winner of the Tour, with Cavendish also winning three stages, including the final day on the Champs-Élysées.

Bradley Wiggins Team Sky Tour de France

Bradley Wiggins on the podium after winning the 2012 Tour de France (Watson)

In September, Team Sky reached a big milestone as they notched up their 100th victory as Lars Petter Nordhaug claimed victory at the Grand Prix Cycliste de Montreal.

Team Sky further enhanced their ranks for the 2013 season as Vasil Kiryienka and David Lopez Garcia joined from Movistar, and Jonathan Tiernan-Locke signed a two-year deal. But the big name departure was sprinter Cavendish who left for Omega Pharma-Quickstep.

The season started well for Team Sky. Porte won Paris-Nice in March, as the Australian produced some fantastic riding winning two of the last three stages –the queen stage, and the time trial.

Bradley Wiggins Team Sky Giro d'Italia 2013

Bradley Wiggins on stage seven at the 2013 Giro d'Italia

After the success of 2012, Wiggins was chosen as leader for the Giro in 2013, as Froome got the nod to lead the team at the Tour. It wasn’t a successful Giro campaign for Wiggins; he crashed on stages seven and eight, and a few days later, Wiggins’s horrible Giro came to an end as he abandoned due to a chest infection.

In his preparations for his tilt at Tour glory, Froome won both the Tour of Romandie and the Critérium du Dauphiné.

In the Tour, Froome produced some impressive performances, especially on stage eight, on the final climb of Ax 3 Domaines, and then again on Mont Ventoux en route to his first Tour de France victory.

chris froome team sky 2013 tour de france

As the season came to an end, Wiggins put his Giro disappointment behind him as he claimed overall victory at the Tour of Britain, winning stage three’s time trial at Knowsley Safari Park.

Team Sky started the 2014 season with some more reinforcements as well as departures. Both Rigoberto Uran and Mathew Hayman left the squad to join Omega Pharma-Quickstep and Orica-Greenedge respectively.

But the squad strengthened, with the arrivals of Philip Deignan from UnitedHealthcare, Mikel Nieve who joined on a two-year deal from Euskaltel Euskadi after the team folded at the end of the 2013 season. Sebastian Henao (cousin of Sergio) was the final arrival at the beginning of the season.

The season didn’t start particularly well for Team Sky, and it proved to be an omen for things to come. Thomas pulled out of Paris-Nice, and then Porte abandoned Tirreno-Adriatico and later missed the Giro.

Froome started the 2014 Tour in the hope of retaining his 2013 crown. But a miserable opening set of stages coincided with Froome crashing twice on stage four, which resulted in him abandoning the race. Nieve was Team Sky’s highest placed rider in 18th position.

Froome went on to ride Vuelta a España after the disappointment of the Tour. Froome finished second overall, 1-10 behind Alberto Contador.

Thomas signed a new two-year deal at the start of the 2015 season, and with that Team Sky saw a new influx of riders. Leopold König, Nicolas Roche, Wout Poels, Andrew Fenn, and Elia Viviani all joined.

After those signings, Wiggins was the next name to commit to Sky, on a deal that would see him stay with the team up until the 2015 Paris-Roubaix. But Edvald Boasson Hagen was one of the big names that decided against renewing his deal.

The season started off well, in February Froome won the Ruta del Sol, whilst Thomas won the Volta ao Algarve.

ian stannard team sky omloop het nieuwsblad

Ian Stannard wins the 2015 Omloop Het Nieuwsblad

In the Classics campaign, Sky had some good success. Ian Stannard won Omloop Het Nieuwsblad for the second successive time, and in E3 Harelbeke Thomas picked up victory after riding solo ahead of Peter Sagan and Zdenek Stybar.

In March, Team Sky continued their good success in Paris-Nice, with Richie Porte taking two stage wins on his way to overall victory.

The following month saw the departure of Bradley Wiggins, who left the team after a 15th place finish in Paris-Roubaix.

Sky endured another disappointing Giro in 2015; Porte was their main hope, but he lost time in the first stage, and then was docked a further two minutes on stage 10 after receiving a wheel from fellow Australian Simon Clarke, with Clarke riding for Orica-Greenedge. With him down in 12th position Porte abandoned the race on the second rest day.

Froome was targeting his second Tour crown in 2015. The previous year he crashed out on stage four, but in preparation for the Tour the Briton won the Critérium du Dauphiné for a fourth time.

Team Sky started the Tour well, with Froome taking the race lead on the Mur de Huy. A week later on the Tour’s first mountain stage Froome produced a strong performance to La Pierre-Saint-Martin to increase his lead. From there the overall result was almost a foregone conclusion, with Froome riding strongly throughout the rest of the race to take his second Tour victory.

chris froome team sky 2015 tour de france

Chris Froome wins stage 10 of the 2015 Tour de France (Sunada)

Porte also announced halfway through the Tour that he would be leaving for BMC Racing to pursue bigger targets.

With one of Team Sky’s most trusted domestiques leaving the squad, Sky had another recruitment drive in which Mikel Landa was the big name to join, moving over from Astana.

Further arrivals included Michal Golas, Gianni Moscon, Dutch sprinter Danny Van Poppel, Benat Intxausti. Another big name joined Team Sky in the shape of 2014 World Road Race Champion Michal Kwiatkowski.

Welshman Thomas started the season well winning Paris-Nice for the first time, and also claiming his second successive victory at the Volta ao Algarve.

Winning one of the Monuments was a major goal for Team Sky in 2016, and although the early Classics didn’t go to plan they did manage to win Liege-Bastogne-Liege. Prior to that Ben Swift finished second in Milan-San Remo, Luke Rowe came in fifth at Tour of Flanders, and Ian Stannard completed the podium at Paris-Roubaix.

In the Ardennes week, it was Poels who soloed to victory at Liège-Bastogne-Liège to give Team Sky one of their first victory in a Monument.

Leading up to the Tour, Froome once again showed his prowess in the Critérium du Dauphiné, taking overall victory in the race for a third time.

Froome entered the 2016 Tour de France as the race favourite, but no one expected him to take yellow in the manner he did: with a daring downhill attack off the Col de Peyresourde on stage eight.

Then on stage 12 there was carnage on the slopes of Mont Ventoux as Froome crashed after a motorbike got held up by the crowd, with Froome then providing one of the most enduring moments in the history of the race as he decided to run up the mountain.

chris froome team sky 2016 tour de france podium

Chris Froome on the podium after winning the 2016 Tour de France (Watson)

Another surprise move on stage 11 to Montpellier saw Froome claim some more time; and the Briton held on to win a historic third Tour title.

Froome followed up his historic Tour with another good performance in the Vuelta a España, as he finished second, just like he did in 2014. This time he was one minute, 23 seconds behind winner Nairo Quintana.

After the success of 2016, Sky signed some talented young riders; Owain Doull and Jon Dibben joined from Team Wiggins, and Diego Rosa and Kenny Elissonde joined from Astana and FDJ respectively.

There were a few notable outgoings as Roche and König joined BMC Racing and Bora-Hansgrohe respectively.

Since 2016, Froome has won both the Tour and the Vuelta, likeable Welshman Thomas won the 2018 Tour and young talent Egan Bernal took the 2019 victory.

In 2020, Ineos had a rather unusual season. They did not control the Grand Tours like they did in the passed with Egan Bernal ending up abandoning both the Tour and the Dauphiné.

The Giro, which in the 2020 season started after the Tour, was looking to be a good option as an in form Geraint Thomas headed to the race in good form after a solid second at the Tirreno-Adriatico.

Unfortunately, Thomas crashed out on stage three leaving the team to hunt stages, which they did very well, taking seven wins across the race.

But it was the mountains that brought a surprise with Tao Geoghegan Hart coming through from over four minutes down to take an incredible overall victory, making him the fifth British rider to win a Grand Tour.

2020 also saw the announcement of Filippo Ganna as an unstoppable time trialist, he won every ITT he was on the start llist for. The Tirreno-Adriatico final stage, the World Championships and all three TTs at the Giro as well as a road stage too.

Richarc Carapaz then continued the good form at the Vuelta, winning a couple of stages and trading the leaders red jersey with defending champon, Primož Roglič (Jumbo-Visma). But, despite giving everything on the final racing stage, Carapaz was unable to topple the Slovenian right at the end and only managed second overall.

In 2021, Ineos Grenadiers didn't look too different, but the departure of Chris Froome to Israel Start-Up Nation certainly gave the team a different feel. However, the signings of Adam Yates, 2020 Dauphiné winner Dani Martínez, third at the 2020 Tour Richie Porte, Laurens De Plus and young star Tom Pidcock meant Ineos didn't lose any power.  

The team managed to finish second on the UCI World Team Ranking behind Deceuninck - Quick-Step, after a plethora of wins, not least Egan Bernal's second Grand Tour victory in the Giro d'Italia, the team's third win in the event in four years.

Geraint Thomas won the Tour de Romandie too, while Richard Carapaz excelled in the Tour de Suisse and Richie Porte added a Critérium du Dauphiné victory to his stage triumphs. However, the team failed to win a Classics or Monument race, which they haven't achieved since 2017.

Ineos Grenadiers 2022 squad

Andrey Amador (CRC)
Egan Bernal (COL)
Richard Carapaz (ECU)
Jonathan Castroviejo (ESP)
Laurens De Plus (BEL)
Eddie Dunbar (IRL)
Omar Fraile (ESP)
Filippo Ganna (ITA)
Tao Geoghegan Hart (GBR)
Ethan Hayter (GBR)
Kim Heiduk (GER)
Michał Kwiatkowski (POL)
Daniel Martínez (COL)
Jhonatan Narváez (ECU)
Tom Pidcock (GBR)
Luke Plapp (AUS)
Richie Porte (AUS)
Salvatore Puccio (ITA)
Brandon Rivera (COL)
Carlos Rodriguez (ESP)
Luke Rowe (GBR)
Magnus Sheffield (USA)
Pavel Sivakov (RUS)
Ben Swift (GBR)
Geraint Thomas (GBR)
Ben Tulett (GBR)
Ben Turner (GBR)
Dylan van Baarle (NED)
Elia Viviani (ITA)
Cameron Wurf (AUS)
Adam Yates (GBR)

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