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Ian Boswell during his Team Sky days, and now the ex-pro has said Ineos Grenadiers is struggling after it’s first decade of high achievement (Photo: Dana Gardner)

Former Team Sky rider, Ian Boswell, has said Ineos Grenadiers has lost its identity and he knew of several pro riders who had turned down offers from the British team in favour of going to Jumbo Visma on “significantly lower” salaries.

Boswell, who spent five seasons with Team Sky to the end of 2017, said when the team started out in 2010 it “had a very clear goal of winning the Tour de France with a British rider”.

“It was a British team they had this really strong identity of who they were and what they wanted to do,” he said. “And, you know, a lot of those goals over the last 12 or 13 years have now been ticked off,  they’ve accomplished it. And through that, they’ve never really re-established ‘who are we as a team?’

“They’ve kinda hung on to this (idea) ‘oh, we’re a Grand Tour team, we’re here to win the Tour’. But when you look at their roster now, do they really have anyone who can theoretically win the Tour in 2024?  I don’t think so.”

Speaking on The Cycling Podcastduring a discussion about Rod Ellingworth’s departure from Ineos Grenadiers, Boswell added as the team’s Tour-winning challenge has faded, it has not focused on other goals, such as the sprints or classics. They had opted not to sign Mark Cavendish, for example.

“I feel like they’re kind of the last person in the room and the music stops and they don’t have a chair to sit on,” Boswell said. “They don’t really have a lynchpin of the team, an athlete to say ‘OK, we’re going to build our team around this’.”

While Ineos Grenadiers was a large organisation with a big budget, they had bypassed the chance to sign marquee riders that became available, or to “pivot” away from the goal of winning the Tour and towards other goals, such as the classics.

“It’s a little bit worrisome,” Boswell added of the team’s inability or unwillingness to be more agile. “I’m friends with a couple of other riders who, this past year, chose to not sign with that team, to go to Jumbo instead for significantly less money.

“Just from what they’ve heard internally, what’s happening with (Ineos Grenadiers), just the culture of the team, the dynamic of it… (the riders he knows) are willing to race for significantly less money and go to a team where they can most likely achieve more success, that’s more… I don’t want to say ‘more functional’,  but that’s a little bit more on top of it at the moment, and a team that’s going up rather than a team that seems every year taking a step down.”

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