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Ineos Grenadiers announce quartet of major signings

Joe Robinson
25 Sep 2020

Pidcock and Porte confirmed for Ineos while Laurens De Plus and Dani Martinez also announced

Team Ineos Grenadiers have confirmed a quartet of new riders for the 2021 season including rumoured signings Tom Pidcock and Richie Porte.

As part of a rebuilding process for the British WorldTour team, Pidcock and Porte are joined by talented mountain domestique Laurens De Plus, joining from Jumbo-Visma, and recent Criterium du Dauphine champion and Tour de France stage winner Dani Martinez, signing from Education-First.

These four riders will join the already-confirmed signing of British Grand Tour contender Adam Yates, who joins from Mitchelton-Scott, while seven-time Grand Tour champion Chris Froome departs for Israel Start-Up Nation after a decade with the British team.

On the announcement of the four signings, team manager Dave Brailsford called this a reaction to the increased quality across the peloton, underlining the fact all four could lead a team in their own right.

This season we have seen a change in both individual performance levels and the collective strength of teams. Riders are better prepared and teams more organised. The intensity of competition is increasing and it’s getting more difficult to win,' said Brailsford.

'We are relishing this challenge and focused on coming back stronger. The riders themselves are at the heart of any team and each one of our new signings forms a key part of the evolution of the Team.'

Rumours circulated earlier this month that 21-year-old Pidcock would be joining Ineos Grenadiers at the end of the season. The Yorkshireman recently won the Under-23 Giro d'Italia, is defending Paris-Roubaix Espoirs champion and has been a World Champion in multiple disciplines.

On Pidcock, Brailsford earmarked him as one of the sport's next big stars and his signing with the team should help nurture his natural talent.

'It’s clear Tom is one of the most exciting young riders in world cycling and part of a new era of incredible all-round talents. We’re witnessing a new trend in cycling, with an emergence of young riders who come from a broader, multi-disciplined background.

'Tom’s career so far really embodies that. He’s competed at the highest level across several disciplines, is an incredible bike handler, a natural born bike racer, and a winner,' said Brailsford.

'Now he’s going to be an Ineos Grenadier and it’s invigorating for the whole team to be developing a talent like Tom.'

Porte, who turns 36 in January, rejoins the team having experienced a renaissance in his career. Having ridden for Team Sky between 2012 and 2015 as a pivotal domestique for Froome and Bradley Wiggins, the Australian attempted to forge his own opportunities at BMC Racing and then Trek-Segafredo.

After plenty of near-misses and injury, his persistence finally paid off with a well-deserved podium at the recent Tour de France, his highest Grand Tour finish to date.

Set to finish his career with Ineos Grenadiers, Porte admitted he is rejoining the team to offer experience in the mountains and guide the next generation of talent towards stage race success.

'I weighed up the options this year and I’m very motivated to be able to finish my career at such a fantastic team,' said Porte.

I’ve been privileged with the teams I’ve ridden with but the camaraderie in this team is just incredible. It’s a great atmosphere and it will be nice to come back and hit the ground running. There are still so many good people and friends in the team that I’ve worked with before.

'I’m motivated to be a part of more victories and to come back and race with some of the best guys in the world. I know what my role is – I know I can still win races on my day, but I see myself slotting in as a climbing domestique and it’s something I really look forward to.'

As for the signings of De Plus and Martinez, these signify Ineos Grenadiers's intent to remain the best Grand Tour team in the peloton.

De Plus, 25, is highly rated as one of the best mountain domestiques in the world and would have likely been part of Jumbo-Visma's Tour team had it not been for the fact the Belgian was departing for Ineos. As for the Colombian Martinez, he proved his class with overall victory at the Dauphine in August as well as a stage victory atop the Puy Mary at the recent Tour.

Both will slot into the team's Grand Tour plans and offer plenty of options alongside Yates, Richard Carapaz, Egan Bernal and Geraint Thomas, as Brailsford further underlined.

'Our mission is to bring together a squad capable of performing in the world’s most important races and believe Laurens will play a key role in that. He is single-minded, determined and willing to work hard to get to where he wants to go – everything we look for in an Ineos Grenadier,' said Brailsford. 

'We’ve also been monitoring Dani for many seasons as he has impressed us from an early age and after his recent performances, now everyone can see why we’re so excited.

'He rode a fantastic race at the Dauphine and he showed what he’s made of again with his gruelling stage win at the Tour. He is a tenacious, world-class climber who can also time trial and we want Dani to continue his success and be a key part of our future team.'