Bradley Wiggins: Talk of new Ineos Grenadiers approach was 'a decoy', they are back to what they know best
Ineos Grenadiers have made much of their change in strategy but Bradley Wiggins had thoughts on how real that has been as he spoke on The Breakaway following Egan Bernal's Giro d'Italia triumph. Filippo Ganna also won the final stage for Dave Brailsford's unit as they collected yet another Grand Tour for their collection.
'He's done it in some style!' - Watch the final moments as Bernal wins Giro
Bradley Wiggins said Egan Bernal’s victory at the Giro d’Italia showed that Ineos Grenadiers are back to the formidable unit that has delivered so much success, adding claims they had changed their style of racing were “a decoy”.
It was after Tao Geoghegan Hart’s unexpected triumph at last year’s Giro d’Italia when Dave Brailsford made the claim that Ineos had changed their approach and were now indulging in attacking bike racing rather than the suffocating control which had established them as the most dominant force in Grand Tour racing after Wiggins won the 2012 Tour.
The ‘Sky train’, now Ineos, became a racing cliché as they dominated races to ensure their riders remained in the leader’s jersey. And Wiggins felt the old tactic returned on Stage 20 of the Giro as Ineos saw Damiano Caruso win, but confidently delivered Bernal just 20 seconds back with a classic performance.
It gave the Colombian the cushion he needed to win the maglia rosa by 1:29 from Caruso on Sunday following a final time trial ending up, as is customary, in Milan.
And Wiggins said that Brailsford’s talk about a transformation in approach was little more than a smokescreen.
'It was a bit of a decoy' - Wiggins on how Ineos returned to what they know
“For me, watching the execution, Ineos’s display yesterday. It was a reminder of when I was in that team,” he said after Stage 21. “We saw Dave saying they’ve gone back to a very attacking style of racing. I actually think it’s a bit of a decoy, I don’t think they have.
“I think they’ve just got back to what they do best. They tried to maybe create a rhetoric that suited the way they were racing at certain times, to take the pressure off.
“But I think they have gone back to that formidable squad that executed a plan yesterday – which not every fan or bike rider is going to warm to, but as an ex-rider within that team, it’s the work that goes into that at altitude in Tenerife to execute that ride yesterday to dominate the race and control the race and use up bodies like they did.
“It looked at times like they were in panic stations but I can tell you there was no point they would ever have been panicking.”
'It was special, an incredible feeling' - Bernal reflects on Giro win
Wiggins also had words of praise for Bernal, who overcame doubts about his problematic back injury to win the second Grand Tour of his young career, following the 2019 Tour.
After doubts emerged over Bernal’s condition following the 2019 Tour, Wiggins says there is no question now that he is back to his best.
“From the heights of two years ago, winning the Tour de France, he was just a kid then,” said Wiggins. “He seems like he’s matured as an athlete, as a person. We saw the other day the real fighter inside, the real horrible person within him and I don’t mean that in a discriminative way at all.
Highlights: Glory for Ineos as Bernal wins Giro, Ganna takes final stage
“You’ve got to have that in you, that fighter, and he’s a real tough nut off the bike. He’s been every bit a worthy winner and not just that he’s matured and he’s a fighter. I’d be really fearing him as a rival in the next few years because he is well and truly back and a better version of the previous Bernal.”
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