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Tributes after Team Ineos sports director Nico Portal dies aged 40

Joe Robinson
4 Mar 2020

Portal suffered a heart attack on Tuesday at his Andorra home

Tributes have been paid to Team Ineos sports director Nicolas Portal who died of a heart attack aged 40. The former professional rider died suddenly at his home in Andorra on Tuesday with Team Ineos confirming the news via a press release. 

The Frenchman has started his career with AG2R in 2001 before retiring as a rider while racing with Team Sky in 2010. From there, Portal made the move from the bike to the team car to become one of the youngest sports directors in cycling.

It was here were Portal flourished, helping guide Chris Froome, Geraint Thomas and Egan Bernal to Tour de France titles.

Beyond his clear talent for team management, Portal will be remembered for his reputation for openness, friendliness and willingness to talk, something that was reflected in the social media tributes paid following the news.

Four-time Tour champion Froome led the way alongside teammate Thomas.

Former Team Sky rider Peter Kennaugh also shared an emotional message writing: 'My first roommate as a pro. I can’t believe the news of Nico Portal passing away my thoughts and love are with his family who he cherished more than anything.

'The friendliest most genuine, kind person you could wish to meet, words can’t explain how much he will be missed x.'

Another to pay remembrance was former Team Sky director Sean Yates, a man who worked closely with Portal when he first made the transition to the team car.

Beyond Team Ineos, others from the world of cycling offered their condolences to the loss of Portal.

WorldTour teams including Jumbo-Visma, Deceuninck-QuickStep and Education First joined in paying tribute to Portal. 

Recently retired Adam Blythe wrote: 'I only ever heard the most wonderful things about Nico Portal.. a true gentleman who will be greatly missed. My thoughts are with your family and friends. Rest In Peace, Nico.'

Eurosport presenter Orla Chennaoui also paid tribute" 'Nico Portal was a rare being in professional sport - a gentleman who always had time and a smile for everyone. I first met him a rider and through all his success as a DS, he never seemed to change. A kindly father, and father figure. My heart goes out to his family and the team.'