If this is a feature that is even the most viciously contested of characters you can come around to, then you would think that people who are known to say that they are working in an open, transparent and modern way , Has taken the idea to a great extent. Start. One might phrase this as a communication strategy that shapes the narrative, but let’s not be condescending to Dave Brilsford and his Innosus team.
The team press conference is not a rare thing in the rest of the Tour de France, it is what every team has been doing since time immemorial. Talking over their prospects, giving some hints about plans, ambitions, or reasons for past performances – they are generally a time to speak of how things have gone so far and what the rest of the race might be. So, with the toughest part of the 2020 Tour de France, still, coming Monday, 14 September – the second day of rest, we waited to hear when the INELO Grenadiers press conference would take place.
And we waited.
And we waited.
We waited so long that it became a Tuesday and still nothing. This did not happen due to appearances by the video management or otherwise from the team management and so we can only assume what we would say about our own deductions, what to say about the win that controlled and won seven of the eight is. Recent tour. When you are not saying anything, others, in this case, media, will fill the void of information for you.
I know that assuming anything is a recipe for disaster, but in this case, the questions that were waiting to be raised remain unanswered, even as Dave Brilsford finally broke cover and on Tuesday Talked to a journalist.
Let’s start with the obvious. What happened to Egan Bernal? Could his demise on the slope of the Grand Chemistère be caused by his first deformed back in the Critérium de Dauheen? If so, why was he out for a training ride the next day after exiting the pre-tour race.
Given how the defending champion slowly deteriorated for the third week instead of getting better, as the team promised, then you can only assume that something went wrong with his plan of form. He appears tired, unharmed, tired and cannot be over-racing, meaning you have to blame his training.
Apply the same relation to the rest of Ineos and apart from Michal Kwiatkowski, they have all become equal. Amador and especially Sivakov are mitigation in the event of injuries in accidents. I have watched them warm up before the steps to make sure they are ready for the pain they will have to go through, but where have the others gone?
When the team has come under temporary control of the squad, they have come and tried to set the pace, however, it was an illusion, and it was only those who hurt themselves.
Since racing started we have seen that the team has not engaged itself and there is talk that the level has gone up. In Dauphiné, it was Jumbo-Wisma who was in control and the suggestion that the Dutch team was at the peak very quickly. Okay, that hasn’t happened, even a little, and more worrying teams like Sunweb, Bora and EF Pr Cycling have had more of an impact on racing than Dave Brilsford’s team.
We have been consistently told that a win in the Tour is the sole purpose of the British-based team and that the selections, prearranged plans and their minor nuances have been scrapped to ensure their victory. Except in this COVID-19 affected year, all this has gone wrong. Despite the pillows and light wheels.
They have two days left to secure a stage win, but I would be surprised if any of the riders can manage it. They are designed and trained to create tempo, not to increase speed or win sprints. The ugliness is deep as we see Giro winner Richard Carapaz falling on stage 16 with Lennard Kamna.
You could argue that their general plan is troubled by viruses but other teams have managed the situation better. Perhaps we should remember the words spoken by the team management in 2015 regarding their five-year plan.
“Our mission for 2020 is very simple – undeniably for Team Sky and consistently the best cycling team in the world.”
Here we are in 2020 and the center of the statement is clear. They have not been consistent this year and they are also in dispute.
Recent interviews by Geraint Thomas and Chris Froome have added confusion over recent selections and decisions. Everyone seems to have forgotten the situation in mid-August, when neither rider was good at Dauphiné, despite that he said he expected a leadership role for the Tour.
He was not selected because his form simply was not where it was supposed to be, so it is all happening very well now that the suggestion of things will be different. Because they were not competitive with Rogos and Company, they would have seen the Ineos riders in better shape because they would not. You cannot say that I did not select in one week and then changed it the next day.
Dave Brilsford and his Directorial Sportiffs gathered their best team based on time information and now we are on the tour and they have come less often. Having Thomas or Frome in France would not have changed because it seems like a collective failure.
So, we come back to silence about the reasons for that failure because when you have said that you have the best people, the best support, science and talent that can buy quite a budget, then there are valid questions that will be asked . Like what do you think will happen, what lessons will be learned and why other teams are doing better with less than half the resources?
Would it be better to give a chance to your young riders than to buy someone who is winning a big stage race? Because it does not necessarily constitute a core group that feels valued and respected.
When you dominate as Sky / Inios, there comes a time when it starts opening up, history tells us. Now what matters is how you handle that situation and how kind you are in defeat.