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‘We stand every chance of taking on Ineos’: Bahrain-McLaren launch and gallery

Rod Ellingworth bullish on Bahrain-McLaren’s chances of trumping Ineos in the WorldTour, as we get a snoop around McLaren

Peter Stuart
10 Dec 2019

Former Team Ineos coach Rod Ellingworth has spoken with confidence about Bahrain-McLaren’s prospects of taking on Team Ineos across the World Tour for the 2020 season.

This year sees British car manufacturer McLaren replace Merida as primary sponsor of the team and with that comes a new focus on performance, hence the acquisition of former Team Ineos mastermind Ellingworth. 

In response to a question from Cyclist on whether he viewed the team as an underdog to Ineos, Ellingworth said, ‘I think from the outset yes we’re capable of taking them on.’

‘It’s about getting your key riders on the line in good condition and good health. I think if we’re in that situation we stand every chance of taking them on,’ he added.

‘I don’t see ourselves as an underdog. We’re competitive,’ Ellingsworth added. When pressed on specific budgets for the team, Ellingsworth was reticent to reveal any numbers.

Future for e-bikes

Talking about the wider importance of the project for McLaren, Joint Managing Director John Allert hinted that McLaren’s interest was piqued by the possibility of developing technology for e-bikes.

‘If you look at the technologies that exist in this building, for instance, we produce all the power trains for the formula e motorsport series, then you look at the growth of e-bikes,’ he said.

‘The knowledge that we may come to bear in that could be pretty interesting.’ He then listed some potential areas where McLaren could develop the technology, ‘The reduction in weight and size of power and battery storage; the optimisation of that power through software; the miniaturization of high-torque electric motors.’

He clarified that the current objective is success on the World Tour, and e-bikes would remain a longer-term prospect.

A wander around McLaren suggests that could be a fascinating opportunity for cycling.

Marvels of McLaren

Amongst a collection of incredible racing cars, from Bruce McLaren’s very first Austin 7 racer to the commercially available and legendary McLaren F1, were a few of the brand’s interesting cycling-related projects.

The S-Works McLaren project is of course the most famous cycling collaboration the brand has undertaken, but a considerable level of cycling tech was also deployed for the brand’s Soapbox racer.

Using a single brake and four bicycle wheels, the fully-faired soapbox racer, the MP4-T5, hit speeds of over 60mph on a downhill stretch at Goodwood. It was developed in 2004, yet looks on trend with the very latest of non-UCI compliant concept bike technology.

Merida’s latest official team bikes were also on show, and we were encouraged to see that the team has committed to disc-brake only for its road bike. The Reacto and Time Warp bikes both sported McLaren’s famous papaya colour tone, as did Le Col’s kit.

The signing of Le Col as official clothing sponsor was a big step for the UK brand, and the kit has already proved divisive amongst fans.

Finally, here are a few photos of McLaren racing cars...

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