'Back to the drawing board' for Ineos Grenadiers but Tom Pidcock and Egan Bernal show progress

Arensman completes trio of top-ten placings for the British team this weekend as Tour de France plans build

Clock11:22, Monday 11th March 2024
Tom Pidcock leads Thymen Arensman at Tirreno-Adriatico

© Getty Images

Tom Pidcock leads Thymen Arensman at Tirreno-Adriatico

Ineos Grenadiers may have missed out on a stage win and podium places in both Tirreno-Adriatico and Paris-Nice but the team showed progression and a new level of consistency with top-ten placings for Egan Bernal, Tom Pidcock and Thymen Arensman.

Bernal came into Paris-Nice on the back of his best result in several years after securing third overall in O Gran Camino. He eventually finished seventh overall in Paris-Nice on Sunday, his best GC result in a WorldTour stage race since sixth in the 2021 Vuelta a España. Although he wilted in the final two stages and dropped a place in the overall standings, the former Tour de France winner demonstrated a solid level of progression as he builds up for a possible role at the Tour in July.

Read more: Pidcock, Rodríguez and Bernal for the Tour de France as Ineos Grenadiers hope to close the gap to their Grand Tour rivals

Talk of top-fives, or even top-tens in the Tour are premature when using Bernal's name, but the Colombian is in a better place than he was twelve months ago as he continues to rebuild his career after the life-threatening crash that took place just over two years ago.

“It was a fun week. It was hard for sure, as it usually is in Paris-Nice but we should be proud of what we did. The team was great, and we were one of the strongest teams in the race. In the end, we did well,” Bernal said after Paris-Nice.

“I was feeling good, a bit stronger today, and it’s given me confidence for the future. The season is just starting and we have a lot of races in front of us. We have to keep fighting," he added.

Read more: Whisper it quietly, but Egan Bernal is looking like a stage race leader again

Bernal wasn’t initially down to race Paris-Nice but he will now take a short break before returning to action at the Volta Ciclista a Catalunya later this month. His performance in Paris-Nice was in contrast to co-leader Carlos Rodriguez, who never got to grips with the difficult conditions in France and slumped to 28th overall, over half an hour down on GC winner Matteo Jorgensen (Visma-Lease a Bike).

Rodriguez finished fifth in the Tour de France last year and won a stage but he will be looking to make major improvements over the coming weeks as he looks to solidify his role for the Tour.

No victory but positives from Tirreno-Adriatico

Tom Pidcock and Thymen Arensman weren’t able to match Jonas Vingegaard’s (Visma-Lease a Bike) unstoppable form in Tirreno-Adriatico but both riders ended the week with top-ten spots in the overall standings with Arensman in sixth and Pidcock in ninth.

As in Paris-Nice, the British squad failed to win a single stage but there were encouraging signs for a team that has consistently stated that they are in transition after failing to win the Tour since 2019.

“It’s been an up-and-down week,” said sports director Zak Dempster.

Pippo [Ganna] was super close to a stage win, which was one of our objectives. We weren't able to achieve that throughout the week but having said that there was really nice progression from both Tom and Thymen on the GC,” he said. "Thymen is right there and with some small improvements in time trial and execution on the longer and harder mountain stages that will come in the Grand Tours, I think he’s in a good place to take that next step in his career.”

Pidcock came into Tirreno-Adriatico with aims of winning his first race in over a year and competing against some of the best stage racers in the world. He missed out on a stage win and was unable to match Vingegaard and a handful of pure climbers, but his display on stage 6 to the summit of Monte Petrano catapulted him into the top-ten thanks to a fifth-placed finish.

Read more: Tom Pidcock hails one of his best ever climbing performances at Tirreno-Adriatico

“With Tom, historically we think of him as a guy who has been around for a while but in terms of how he’s been able to perform in this race, day to day, he’s not pulled one of those performances together. Although he’s been really competitive and won races at a top, top level, I think this was a really important step for him, and he should take confidence from it.”

Dempster admitted that the team still had work to do as they look to close the gap to the best teams in the world in UAE Team Emirates and the all-conquering Visma-Lease a Bike.

“We obviously need to bridge that gap so we need to go back to the drawing board and continue that hard work and come back for more because we definitely wanted a bit more from this race, but like I said there’s been good execution and on we go.”

For more of the latest racing updates, visit our race news page.

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