Ineos Grenadiers boss Dave Brailsford could step down from his role if his health issues persist.
Brailsford, who has spearheaded the team since its debut as Team Sky in 2010, has been treated for cancer and heart problems in the last two years. He underwent heart surgery in March of this year, having had surgery in 2019 after being diagnosed with prostate cancer.
The 57-year-old Ineos Grenadiers boss is not stepping down right now, but he told the British newspaper The Guardian that he may need if further health concerns arise.
“If I do have any further health issues, I won’t be able to continue. I’m pretty clear about that,” he told The Guardian. “I’m trying to look after myself but I’m here to help other people, to lead and support other people. If the moment comes when you’re trying to support yourself more then it’s time to get out.
“When you have what you think are life-threatening moments twice in the space of two years, you wonder what will happen. The cancer one was scary but manageable, but the heart issue felt different, way more scary. Then you start asking the question: ‘how long will my health last?’”
— INEOS Grenadiers (@INEOSGrenadiers) July 18, 2021
Brailsford’s heart surgery coincided with the sentencing of former Team Sky and British Cycling doctor Richard Freeman, who was found guilty of ordering banned testosterone “knowing or believing” it was to help dope an unnamed rider.
Brailsford refused to speak on the case but denied that his most recent health issue had been caused by the stress of the lengthy tribunal, which lasted over two years.
“It’s a stressful job, that goes with the territory,” he said. “Not only in the last year but over the last ten years, I think. When you’re successful like we have been, you get a lot of questions asked. Coming to France in the past, and the challenges we’ve had – it’s part of the job, and it takes some resilience to deal with that.”
Brailsford attended the Tour de France this year, where his team had hoped to return to the top step of the podium after failing to reach the top three in 2020. Despite having, arguably, the strongest all-round squad at the race, the British team could not topple the defending champion Tadej Pogačar.
Geraint Thomas struggled after a heavy crash in the opening week, which nearly forced him out of the race, while Richie Porte and Tao Geoghegan Hart lost time amid the early chaos. In the end, the team had to settle for third place with Richard Carapaz, who is the first Ecuadorian to make the podium in Paris.