Team Sky to become Team INEOS from May 1 as Sir Jim Ratcliffe’s takeover confirmed
- Sportsmail reported on Monday how Sir Jim Ratcliffe’s takeover was imminent
- The move has now been confirmed – Team Sky will become Team INEOS in May
- They will race under new branding for the first time at the Tour de Yorkshire
The takeover of Team Sky will occur five months earlier than expected, with the all-conquering professional cycling outfit morphing into Team INEOS before the first of the three Grand Tours starts in Italy on May 11.
When Sky announced their plan to terminate their involvement in cycling last December, they said Sir Dave Brailsford and his riders would compete under their banner for the duration of the 2019 season before going their separate ways.
But Sir Jim Ratcliffe clearly wanted to enjoy what is likely to be a record-equalling fifth Tour de France victory for Chris Froome this summer, and agreed a deal that sees his petrochemicals company become the new title sponsors from May 1; in time for the Tour de Yorkshire which begins in Doncaster on May 2.
Sir Jim Ratcliffe will become the owner of Team Sky and will rename them Team INEOS in May
Sportsmail first reported that Ratcliffe was in talks with Brailsford and Team Sky and in a statement on Monday the news was finally confirmed that Britain’s richest man was taking over despite the controversy of the last few years.
Indeed despite the concerns that remain about their former doctor, Richard Freeman, and the delivery of testosterone that was supposed to be central to a Medical Practitioners Tribunal Service hearing over the last few weeks, only to be postponed because of preliminary legal argument.
In a statement issued on Tuesday, Team Sky said: ‘Sky and 21st Century Fox have agreed the sale of Team Sky to INEOS. INEOS will become the sole owners of Tour Racing Limited (the team’s holding company) from 1 May this year and will continue to fund the current team in full, honouring all existing commitments to riders, staff and partners.
The launch of Team INEOS will take place at the Tour de Yorkshire.
Ratcliffe, who as this newspaper revealed last year has also expressed an interest in buying Chelsea Football Club, said: ‘Cycling is a great endurance and tactical sport that is gaining ever more popularity around the world.
‘Equally, cycling continues to mushroom for the general public as it is seen to be good for fitness and health, together with easing congestion and pollution in city environments. INEOS is delighted to take on the responsibility of running such a professional team.’
The team will change name mid-season and racing under new branding at Tour de Yorkshire
Brailsford added: ‘Today’s announcement is great news for the team, for cycling fans, and for the sport more widely. It ends the uncertainty around the team and the speed with which it has happened represents a huge vote of confidence in our future.
‘In Sir Jim Ratcliffe and INEOS, I know that we have found the right partner whose vision, passion and pioneering spirit can lead us to even greater success on and off the bike. It heralds the start of a hugely exciting new chapter for us all as Team INEOS.’
Sky added that ‘the practicalities of the transfer are subject to further discussion with the Union Cycliste Internationale’, although they are not expected to delay the takeover.
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