It’s been a mad one this past year or so at Grenadier HQ. The franchise’s defining rider left, they didn’t win the Tour de France, and – most unusual of all – cycling fans have started to get excited about watching them win bike races.
Sir Dave Brailsford told media, including Eurosport, last week that in the second half of the 2020 season his organisation had seen “a marked, big change in people’s attitudes and opinion of the Grenadiers”.
The British team gathers “a lot of facts and data” about the way it is perceived, Brailsford explained, and during the later races of 2020 all the arrows were pointing up.
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Brailsford put this down to Ineos having raced “more openly” – due in no small part to the loss of its GC leaders at early points of the Giro and the Tour – and he set out an intent for 2021 to bring some more of that attacking derring-do.

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From the outside, it certainly seems like Ineos, famously the team that coshed the life out of mountain stages with the bludgeoning force of their ‘mountain train’, is racing with a bit more adventure. Filippo Ganna’s inspiring, billion-watt attack in the Étoile de Bessèges last week being the perfect early-season example.
Brailsford held up Stage 18 of the Giro d’Italia last season as pivotal moment in this shift to a new team philosophy.
“I think what we saw Rohan [Dennis] and Tao [Geoghegan Hart] do on the Stelvio last year for example, was a bit of a game-changing kind of stage," he said.
“We are going to take an exciting, very positive and passionate mindset into this season and rekindle everything about the joy of racing. […] We intend to continue very much in that style and that mentality with the Grenadiers this year."

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The principle driver behind adopting this new way of racing, Brailsford says, is to motivate and engage the riders on Ineos’ roster.
“You race with an opportunity, more like an adventure than a challenge, or a threat. I think it changes, it releases, it liberates a racer’s mind and I think that’s what we want to go after and take our opportunity, be ready at any moment to seize the initiative and be a bit more expansive."
It’s stirring stuff, and wonderful to hear a major team talk so openly about revitalising its athletes by giving them a free rein.
“Our riders are really, really excited and upbeat to pin a number on their back and go racing again,” added Brailsford.
Further to these statements of intent from the main man, on Monday Ineos announced it had signed Steve Cummings to DS for the team this year.
Cummings was never one for the ‘grind ‘em down’ approach to racing and took his most important results with daring, sometimes outright deluded, attacks. In that respect, he’s the perfect man to have in the Ineos 2.0 team car.
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