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Tour de France

Ranking every new Ineos Grenadiers signing since Jim Ratcliffe took over in 2019

VeloNews puts together the definitive list on the 19 riders Ratcliffe and his team has signed since Ineos took over from Sky.

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In May 2019 Team Sky became Team Ineos, and later Ineos Grenadiers, with Jim Ratcliffe stepping in to fill the ownership and financial void created by Sky’s sudden departure.

In that time the British team has gone on to win the Tour de France and the Giro d’Italia, and while their domination at the Tour has been stunted in recent years by Tadej Pogacar, it remains one of the most financially well-equipped and successful teams in the peloton.

Since Ratcliffe took over the team has signed no fewer than 19 new riders, and during the Tour de France rest day we ranked them from worst to best. Here are the results.

19. Brandon Rivera

The 26-year-old has enjoyed three years at Ineos Grenadiers having signed from the Continental ranked GW Shimano at the end of 2019. Opportunities have been limited but at the same time he’s perhaps out of his depth at the WorldTour level. He’s raced just 14 days in 2022, and 20 days the previous season. It would be highly surprising if he was offered a new deal with his contract set to expire at the end of this campaign. The Colombian hasn’t been a disaster at the team, that would be highly unfair, but he’s not done enough at the top level to suggest he’s worth re-signing.

18. Omar Fraile

The 31-year-old was a surprise signing heading into 2022 and so far it hasn’t quite paid off for either rider or team. The Spaniard hasn’t cracked at top-ten all season but quite often he’s worked in the services of others and their GC aspirations. Not racing the Giro or Tour wasn’t a huge surprise but he is expected to race the Vuelta later this year – a race where he has won two stages and two KoM competitions. He’s raced two grand tours every year since 2016, so going an entire season without a three-week race would be a huge blow.

17. Elia Viviani

The Italian narrowly edges ahead of Fraile on the basis that he’s actually won a race this season. That said, Vivianni has been outshone by the younger riders on the team, who are faster finishers and better climbers. Viviani obviously brings a huge amount of experience to the team, and that quality will be vital over the coming years as riders like Ethan Hayter look for guidance and support. Signed on a three-year deal, Viviani will be 36 when his current contract expires.

16. Cameron Wurf

The Australian was a surprise pick up in January 2020 after seemingly ending his road racing career six years earlier and moving into triathlon. Obviously Ineos saw enough in Wurf to offer him a deal after he regularly trained with the riders in Monaco and Nice, and he’s still on the team two years later at the grand old age of 38. He’s raced a grand tour in that time and has been a genuinely useful and versatile rider who can drop into any scenario or race. Every team needs a Wurf in that regard. If this list was based on value for money, Wurf would be a lot higher.

15. Laurens de Plus

When De Plus jumped ship from Jumbo-Visma to Ineos Grenadiers it was seen as a huge coup for the British team, especially after some really impressive performances in 2018 and 2019. However it didn’t work out with the Belgian missing time off the bike with illnesses and a resulting lack of form. The team has stood by him though and this season De Plus has shown flashes of his old self with some solid domestique duties in WorldTour stage races. The Vuelta has been penciled in for later this year and that will provide the acid test as to the 26-year-old’s progression, and with another year left on his current deal he’ll be hoping to make another leap in 2023.

14. Rohan Dennis

Rohan Dennis at the 2020 Giro d’Italia (Photo: Getty Images)

It would be really harsh to throw one of the kids towards the top of this list, so we’re going for Rohan Dennis instead. Aside from a handful of important days at the Giro in 2020, there wasn’t a lot to shout about during his two year stint on the team. There were a couple of time trial wins in 2021, and they were at WorldTour level, but he missed out on Tour selection in each of his two seasons and Filippo Ganna moved ahead of him when it came to time trial status. This was supposed to be the team that finally managed Dennis’ personality and ambition but after two relatively quiet years he moved to Jumbo-Visma for an offer Ineos weren’t willing to match.

13. Andrey Amador

You don’t sign Amador to win races but the former Movistar man has been a loyal and trusted domestique over the last three years. He raced two grand tours in 2020 and 2021 but those powers have waned and he missed out on both Giro and Tour selection this season. It’s unclear if the 35-year-old will be retained for next year with his current deal set to expire but he has been a solid domestique.

12. Kim Heiduk

The German 23-year-old hasn’t put a foot wrong since joining the team at the start of the 2022 season but he hasn’t set the world alight either. Give him time.

11. Ben Turner

The 23-year-old has been a perfect addition to the team since joining at the start of 2022. Turner had some breakout results in the Classics and looked like a natural during the team’s cobbled campaign. Has a big future ahead of him and could develop into a similar role to the one Luke Rowe currently has.

10. Carlos Rodriguez

The Spaniard has yet to make his grand tour debut for Ineos but he has been earmarked for stardom since his junior years. He finished second the Tour de l’Avenir last summer, and this year he’s kicked on another level with a win in the Spanish national road championships, a stage in the Basque Country and a number of impressive stage racing placings.

9. Ben Tulett

Ben Tulett making his grand tour debut at the Giro d'Italia in 2022
Ben Tulett making his grand tour debut at the Giro d’Italia in 2022 (Photo: Getty Images)

Tulett was a surprise selection for the Giro d’Italia in May but didn’t look out of his depth at all with a set of sterling rides for Richard Carapaz, and then two top-fives in the time trials. Signed from Alpecin Fenix over the winter, the 20-year-old is another rider destined for great things.

8. Adam Yates

Yates could yet finish on the podium of the Tour de France but has just two wins under his belt since moving to Ineos at the start of last year. To be fair, his consistency in stage racing and one day format has been incredible, but he’s just missing that one big win for Ratcliffe’s team.

7. Daniel Martinez

The summer hasn’t quite gone to plan for the Colombian with a mediocre Suisse – by his standards – followed by another tame showing at the Tour de France. That could change in the third and final week but recent disappointments shouldn’t overshadow the fact that Martinez has been a hit since joining the team at the start of 2021. He was pivotal in getting Egan Bernal over the line in last year’s Giro d’Italia and was one of the standout performers this spring with a win in the Basque Country and podiums in both Paris-Nice and Algarve. Rumor has it he has been shopped around for 2024, when his contract is set to expire, but it’s also likely that he stays with the team once his current deal ends.

6. Luke Plapp

Luke Plapp (Ineos Grenadiers) at the Tour de Romandie
Luke Plapp (Ineos Grenadiers) at the Tour de Romandie (Photo: Getty Images)

A year older than the rider one place above him on the list, but Plapp is also a star in the making. The team has been hugely impressed with his development in such a short space of time, and his desire to be thrown into any scenario or race schedule led to a top-ten place at the Tour de Romandie. A former trackie, he could develop in several directions over the coming seasons.

5. Magnus Sheffield

Everyone already knew that Sheffield was the real deal, even before his arrival on the team at the start of the campaign. He’s made the transition to WorldTour look seamless with two wins already this season, including a victory in De Brabantse Pijl – La Flèche Brabançonne. He’s only 20 and could become one of the most dominant names in cycling over the next decade.

4. Richie Porte

After five years away Porte returned to his old stomping ground for a final two year block before retirement. He finished third in his final Tour de France for Trek Segafredo in 2019 but the move to Ineos was about moving back into a solid domestique role rather than targeting individual success. The Australian still went and won the Dauphine, and finished second in both Romandie and Catalunya in his first season on the team before heading in 2022 and his final year in the peloton. This season has been decent rather than spectacular but overall his time on the team has been successful.

3. Richard Carapaz

He might be leaving at the end of the season but Carapaz has been a consistent success on the British squad during his three years of service. He may not have won a second grand tour but no one can fault his consistency over three weeks with three podiums spanning the Tour, Giro and Vuelta. He hasn’t won a lot of races, and his biggest victory, at the Olympic Games, came in national kit rather than his trade attire. There’s certainly an element of unfulfilled potential that clouds his time on the team but as a consistent stage racer, he’s been right up there.

2. Ethan Hayter

The 23-year-old has won 15 races already in his two and half years on Ineos and like many of the young riders on this list looks like a huge talent for the coming season. Hayter can climb, time trial and has a lethal sprint from small groups, making him one of the most complete riders of his generation. He’s still learning and has yet to make his grand tour debut but all the signs point to a bright future.

1. Tom Pidcock

Tom Pidcock wins on Alpe d'Huez
Tom Pidcock wins on Alpe d’Huez (Photo: Thomas Samson/AFP via Getty Images)

Is there really any other option for the top spot? Pidcock has been the pinnacle piece of transfer business conducted by Ineos in several years, and while the recent attention will focus on his Alpe d’Huez victory it cannot be forgotten just who pivotal and important Pidcock is in a variety of roles and disciplines. He’s arguably the most complete bike rider in the world right now when you factor in his mountain bike Olympic gold medal and his rainbow stripes in cyclocross. He’s a bike sponsor’s dream but also a rider Ineos could base its roster on for years to come.