Vuelta a Espana

Ineos Grenadiers embracing ‘more fun’ offensive racing style at Vuelta a España

British team continues adopting new aggressive approach to racing after successfully using the tactic at the Giro d'Italia.

Ineos Grenadiers may be knuckling down to the serious business of racing for the top prize at this year’s Vuelta a España, but that’s not going to stop them having fun while they do it.

When it became apparent that Wednesday’s transitional stage would be a day would for the breakaway, the British squad sent top domestique Dylan van Baarle into the breakaway to scrap for a stage win. It marked a rare opportunity for the Dutchman that has spent kilometer after kilometer of this Vuelta toiling for team leader and red jersey contender Richard Carapaz.

“The plan today was to have somebody in the break, Dylan [van Baarle], Andre [Amador] or Chris [Froome],” Ineos Grenadiers sports director Gabriel Rasch told Eurosport. “It’s important that we let everybody get their chances and that we are racing.”

Ineos Grenadiers lit up the Giro d’Italia as it embraced an unprecedented offensive style last month. Along with Tao Geoghegan Hart‘s pink jersey, the team left Italy with seven stage wins, three a result of Filippo Ganna’s enormous time trial engine, and the remaining four from summit finishes or breakaway moves. At the time, team boss Dave Brailsford heralded it as the start of a new era for a squad that had specialized in steamrollering other teams into submission with an unstoppable train of domestiques.

Van Baarle’s ride to fourth place in an all-star breakaway Wednesday suggests the “let’s get out there and race” approach that Brailsford adopted in Italy made the trip across Europe to Spain this month.

“I think now with all the young guys it’s a little bit different our style of racing, it opens up opportunities,” Rasch said Wednesday. “With a rider like Richie [Carapaz], he doesn’t need a whole train around him, so it’s a bit different … It’s more fun as well.”

Team Sky / Ineos has been slated for a so-called boring, defensive style through its 10-year reign at the top of the grand tour hierarchy. Perhaps not for much longer.

“At the end of the day, the sport is about racing,” Brailsford said after he watched Geoghegan Hart ride into the pink jersey at the Milano time trial last month. “It’s about emotion and the exhilaration of racing. And that’s what we want to be now.”