Paris-Roubaix: There is more to cycling than in the Tour – sports

David Brailsford was also present at the moment of this extraordinary victory. The 58-year-old Briton is primarily responsible for the insane successes of the Ineos cycling team over the past decade. He recently had health issues and also took on a new role: Brailsford now oversees all of Ineos’ chemical-sponsored sporting activities, from rugby to sailing. But the cycling team is still the biggest passion, and so Brailsford was one of the first to congratulate when Dutchman Dylan van Barley first hit the legendary cycling track on Sunday evening after a 257km dust battle from Paris to Roubaix.

Sovereign’s solo victory – about two minutes before the chase – was a very special success. Because Ineos won the “Queen of the Classics” for the first time, as the race on the many bad cobbled trails of northern France is called. This can certainly be seen as evidence of the team’s new identity.

Ineos – Team Sky until changing sponsor in 2019 – has dominated the peloton in a special way over the past decade. With its big budget and always excellent staff; With the story of raising bikes to a new level by looking for many small tuning screws (“marginal gains”), but also with many antics.

The placement of Ineos on the team in the Tour de France is now over

But when it came to prioritizing the racing calendar, Sky/Ineos was a bit like the average German with an interest in cycling. First comes the Tour de France, then the Tour, and third the Tour; Then maybe other big tours like the Giro and Vuelta. With 13 victories in these three grand tours, in the France loop alone, Ineos riders won eight times between 2012 and 2019, until Slovenians Primoz Roglic (Jumbo Visma) and Tadej Pojacar (UAE) started there. Certainly, there was a phase in between when Brailsford focused explicitly on the classics; And of course the Ineos reps have always been strong in classic one-day races. But there has never been such a central and dominant role on the tour.

Amstel Gold Race winner: Michal Kwiatkowski (right) defeats Benoit Kuznefroy. It was the first victory for an Ineos driver in a classic championship since fall 2017.

(Photo: Niko Vereken / Panoramic International / Imago)

But while the uber-team status for the tour has disappeared and others have taken on leadership roles there, Ineos seems to be finding a new love for the classics. This was already indicated last year, and now it is already beginning to spread. Van Barley came second on the Flanders Super Tour two weeks ago. Last Sunday, Pole Michal Kwiatkowski won the Amstel Gold Race. It was the Ineos driver’s first victory in a classic car since fall 2017. More recently, only 19-year-old Magnus Sheffield triumphed with a Brabant stock, which is critically acclaimed for its aggressive spectacle and driving style.

Van Barley’s crowning glory came after an impressive team performance: early in the race, Ineos used a crosswind to launch a team attack and tore up the field. Later on, Van Barley and his teammate Filippo Gana have repeatedly stepped forward despite many flaws. Typical Dave Brailsford said, “To hell with tradition and doing something that doesn’t come from the textbook… and in the department where nobody expects to succeed.” Only Slovenian Mate Mohoric was as strong as Van Barley on Sunday, but after a grueling breakout he hit a flat tire at the inopportune moment and lost to Wut van Art and Stefan Kung in the sprint to reach the podium levels.

In the doping case related to the former team doctor, a British court reached a clear verdict

Of course, neoclassical love does not mean that Ineos will start the tour less ambitiously. Also in the summer, the British want to challenge last year’s winner Bougacquard over the 3,300 km from Copenhagen to Paris. They still have enough outstanding riders, led by 2019 Tour winner, Egan Bernal. But for one question, it makes no difference whether Ineos excels in the Tour or the Classics: The team has dealt with the thorny issue of cheating.

There have been many things going on in recent years, from a positive but almost insignificant discovery of salbutamol in four-time Tour winner Christopher Froome to the controversial exemptions of another Tour winner, Bradley Wiggins. And last year, an affair escalated over the mysterious delivery of testosterone from 2011 and Dr. Richard Freeman, a former British Cycling Federation and Team Sky doctor.

A British court has ruled that Freeman ordered the banned substances “with knowledge or belief” that they should be given to an athlete to improve performance. However, a specific driver has not been identified, and so Ineos has attempted to mitigate the issue: The team does not believe “that an athlete has used or attempted to use Testogel or any other performance-enhancing substance,” as a statement read: “No evidence has been provided that this Any offense has ever occurred or an athlete has ever committed a foul.”

Then it remains a mystery why the good doctor Dr. Freeman asked for the preparation at all. Sometimes cobblestone riding, while excruciating, is the most enjoyable affair in the cycling world.

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