Rohan Dennis: Ineos Grenadiers became ‘content’ as UAE and Jumbo left them behind
'They weren’t doing those one percenters or half percenters for every single thing,' Australian says of Dave Brailsford's team.
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Rohan Dennis (Jumbo-Visma) has claimed that Ineos Grenadiers grew “a little bit content” after dominating the sport for a decade, and that his former team has been surpassed by UAE Team Emirates, and Dennis’s current squad, Jumbo-Visma.
Dennis made the comments in a recent appearance on the Bobby & Jens podcast.
The Australian was asked to run through the differences between a number of the teams that he has raced for, with BMC Racing, Ineos Grenadiers and Jumbo-Visma receiving most of the attention.
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Dennis made a shock mid-season transfer to BMC Racing in 2014 before spending an ill-fated season at Bahrain-McLaren in 2019. He raced at Ineos Grenadiers for two seasons between 2020 and 2021 before moving to Jumbo-Visma on a two-year deal.
“Ineos, once again, I had a lot of great times. I can’t really fault them,” Dennis said on the podcast.
“In the end, and I’ve spoken about it since I moved to Jumbo, I think that they got a little bit content with where they were at. They were at the top of the food chain for a good decade and they sort of got left behind, what was seen as all of a sudden, but what was a slow build from UAE and Jumbo. Obviously you have to have the riders to perform as well at the big races but I think that that in 2020 and 2021 it was ‘oh shit what are missing here? We’ve got all these great riders here but why can’t we win?’”
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Ineos Grenadiers, formerly known at Team Sky between 2010 and the spring of 2019, won the Tour de France every year bar one from 2012 to 2019. Their dominance in the race included wins for Bradley Wiggins, Chris Froome (four titles), Geraint Thomas and Egan Bernal. However, Tadej Pogačar ended their run in 2020 and went on to defend his title twelve months later. Ineos finished third with Richard Carapaz last year but they have not been genuine yellow jersey contenders since Bernal’s win.
According to Dennis, the British team took their eye off the ball as their main rivals gained ground and eventually overtook them.
“They weren’t doing those one percenters or half percenters for every single thing. Their training wasn’t up to maybe the latest, latest, latest standards. Obviously you can’t fault them fully because they were still getting podiums in the Tour de France, won the Giro and almost won the Vuelta over Roglič with Carapaz as well.
“They won the Olympics with Carapaz, so they weren’t absolutely terrible but they were just lacking that top-end with what they had for the best part of a decade, when everyone was chasing them. That’s where I think that Jumbo has taken over. Their organization, their science, and everything. I haven’t been in a team like this ever, and I actually thought that this was what Ineos was going to be like.”
Dennis also talked about his long stint with BMC Racing. The Australian spent four and a half years on the American team and developed into one of the best time trialists in the world during that time. He won a rainbow jersey in the time trial during his time at the team, but he could also see faults with their strategy when it came to the Tour de France.
The Australian believes that his former team spread their talents too thin as they chased multiple aims at the Tour de France.
“BMC, great atmosphere, great equipment,” he said.
“The staff members, as a whole team were really, really, really good. It’s hard to fault them. Some of the best years professionally, and having fun, were at that team. The one thing that I think that they lacked, and didn’t really take on board, and I brought to their attention, and the reason why I thought that Sky at that time were so good at the Tour, was that they went there with one leader.”
“What BMC did was that they took two or three leaders who were either going for stages or the GC, and the work was spread too thin. I think that was their downfall. 2015 was the closest that we got to executing a one leader team and it was just unfortunate that Tejay [van Garderen] had a really bad day on stage 16 or 17 and he just blew,” Dennis added.