© Velo Collection (TDW) / Getty Images
Climbing better than ever before, Geraint Thomas almost ended Ineos Grenadiers' Grand Tour dry spell at the Giro d'Italia in May
Geraint Thomas gutted to see Rod Ellingworth quit Ineos Grenadiers
Welshman reacts to news of Ellingworth's resignation on his podcast, becoming the first rider to speak publicly on the change
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Geraint Thomas has become the first Ineos Grenadiers rider to publicly acknowledge and react to the news that Rod Ellingworth has stepped down from the team, calling the news disappointing and stating that it was "gutting" to see the Deputy Team Principal leave.
Rumours of Ellingworth’s departure from Ineos Grenadiers circulated last Friday morning but it wasn’t until late Friday evening that the team confirmed the news in a short statement. The news followed months of speculation over Ellingworth’s future following a lean stretch of Grand Tour success and repeated stages of transitions within the squad and its management.
- ‘I don’t know what the confusion is’ - Ellingworth denies any turbulence at Ineos Grenadiers
- Geraint Thomas supportive of Rod Ellingworth but would welcome Dave Brailsford return
Thomas and Ellingworth have enjoyed a longstanding professional relationship with Thomas a product of the British Cycling Academy that Ellingworth managed. The pair linked up at Team Sky in 2010 and were part of a golden generation within the team as they secured six Tour de France titles through Chris Froome, Bradley Wiggins and Thomas himself in 2018.
Ellingworth left the team at the end of 2019, but returned in 2021 to understudy Dave Brailsford. However, since the 2021 Giro d'Italia, the squad have failed to win a Grand Tour, although Thomas has finished on the podium at both the Tour de France (2022) and the Giro d’Italia (2023).
© Velo Collection (TDW) / Getty Images
Rod Ellingworth has overseen Geraint Thomas' rise from neo-pro to one of the best cyclists that Great Britain has ever produced
Like Thomas, most of the Ineos Grenadiers riders and staff found out about Ellingworth’s departure via social media. Speaking on his Geraint Thomas Cycling Club podcast, the former Tour winner confirmed he had spoken to Ellingworth since the news broke and relayed his shock at the departure.
“I say disappointing but it was gutting really to see Rod step down or leave, or however you want to phrase it. I spoke to him and he’s sad to be leaving but family stuff and whatever, and I don’t want to go into all the details, but from my side, and having known him for so long - a good twenty years now - on a personal level I know him well and we get on. I feel like he was good and great for the team. But things change and people move on. It was quite surprising as well,” Thomas said.
According to Thomas, there had been brief communication between himself and Ellingworth in the days leading up to the announcement but the pair weren’t in sync, with Thomas in the United States at the time, and Ellingworth back in the UK.
“It was all over Twitter and he sent me a message saying he was leaving but it was leaked, which isn’t a surprise really. It will be sad to see him leave but he’ll still be around. He’ll still be following and he wants to be involved in the sport because that’s what he does and loves. Good luck to him. It’s all change in the team now I guess. A top bloke and he’ll definitely be missed.”
It’s unclear when the management reshuffle at Ineos Grenadiers will conclude. Roger Hammond has also left the team, while several media outlets have reported that Dave Brailsford is set for a key position at Manchester United once Ineos owner, Jim Ratcliffe, takes a controlling stake in the club.
Managing Director John Allert - who worked with Ellingworth at Bahrain McLaren - could be set for a more prominent role, while the team have been linked with an outsider to come in and improve the performance team.
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