Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Cycling legend Brailsford plots eighth Tour title




Cycling legend Brailsford plots eighth Tour title

Content image - Phnom Penh Post
Britain’s Geraint Thomas (left) and Sir David Brailsford (right in car) drink Champagne on the final stage of the 2018 Tour de France. AFP

Cycling legend Brailsford plots eighth Tour title

Tough, unsentimental and dominant in cycling for more than a decade, Dave Brailsford wielded his axe ahead of the Tour de France this week and was then compared by one of his earlier victims to former Manchester United boss Sir Alex Ferguson.

Brailsford is the mastermind behind both British cycling’s massive Olympic gold haul, and a staggering seven Tour de France titles in the past eight years, first with Sky and now under the name of the Ineos Grenadiers.

The 56-year-old began his run clinching the 2012 Tour de France with Team Sky’s Bradley Wiggins, who he had already guided to multiple Olympic gold medals.

But jaws dropped the following season when Brailsford axed his popular star in favour of the shy but determined Chris Froome.

For the 2020 Tour, Brailsford again took out his cleaver as he dropped Froome, who has four titles, and his other British star Geraint Thomas who won in 2018 and was runner up last year.

Once again Brailsford put his hopes in a young in-form rider, in this case the defending champion Colombian 23-year-old Egan Bernal.

“He manages Ineos like Sir Alex Ferguson,” Wiggins said comparing Brailsford to the man who led soccer’s Manchester United to 13 Premier League titles.

“Egan is clearly the man now,” Wiggins said on his podcast this week.

“But if Bernal is clearly the man they are putting their money on he’s told the other guys, and found fresh challenges for them,” Wiggins said.

Winning is their norm

Thomas has been named as Ineos captain for the Giro d’Italia and Froome at the Vuelta a Espana.

“They want to win all three Grand Tour in a single year,” Wiggins suggested.

This kind of ambition comes as no surprise for the Brailsford, who introduced the concepts of ‘Mission Clarity’ and ‘Marginal Gains Strategy’ to cycling.

‘Mission Clarity’ means the team ignores stage victories at the Tour and focuses solely on winning the general classification.

Bernal, for example, only took the yellow jersey on stage 19 of 21 in 2019.

Marginal gains has become a little more controversial.

“If you broke down everything you could think of that goes into riding a bike, and then improved it by one percent you’ll get a significant increase,” Brailsford explained.

Applying it to tactics, technology, communications, health and psychology the team overstepped the line according a British government committee who described some of their prescription drug use as unethical.

The inquiry came after leaked reports of so called TUE’s, therapeutic use exemptions, in this case cortisone injections for asthma.

While the inquiry cast a cloud over British cycling and Team Sky’s achievement, no legal lines were crossed.

His run at the top continues on Saturday as the 2020 Tour de France embarks from Nice over two months late with Ineos again the team to watch

“We’ve been looking at how we think we can win this race,” said the fluent French speaker who grew up in Wales.

“We’ve got some ideas about maybe a slightly different approach,” he said. “We’ve got a good game plan and we think that these are the guys to deliver.”

“The decision we’ve come to, and what we’re very excited about, is that we’re going to get Egan and Richard (Carapaz) to target yellow,” Brailsford said when unveiling his Tour roster.

Wiggins had a simple analysis.

“Winning has become their norm,” said the man who got it all rolling back in 2012.

MOST VIEWED

  • Would you like fries with that? US burger chain makes Phnom Penh debut

    California-based The Habit Burger Grill restaurant chain is all set to serve up a delicious array of charbroiled burgers and sides at its newest international location in the centre of Phnom Penh. The Habit is “renowned for its award-winning Charburgers grilled over an open flame,

  • Banteay Meanchey flood victims receive aid

    Prime Minister Hun Sen on Wednesday provided aid to more than 10,000 families affected by flooding in Banteay Meanchey province’s Mongkol Borei district and offered his condolences to the 18 victims who drowned in the province over the past week. He said flooding had occured in

  • PM urges caution as Polish man tests positive for Covid

    The Ministry of Health on Wednesday reported that a 47-year-old Polish man tested positive for Covid-19 after arriving in Cambodia on Monday. There are a total of six Covid-19 patients currently in the country, all of whom are being treated at the Khmer-Soviet Friendship Hospital

  • Banteay Meanchey floods kill one more as death toll reaches 15

    As floodwaters start to recede in Pursat, Battambang and Pailin provinces and Phnom Penh, Banteay Meanchey continues to bear the brunt as one more person was killed on Monday, bringing the total number of flood-related deaths to 15 in the province this month. Banteay Meanchey provincial

  • Serving coffee with a side of robots

    The eye-catching glass building surrounded by greenery at the intersection of Streets 371 and 2002 in Phnom Penh’s Sen Sok district is more than just another coffee shop where you can while away a few hours. UrHobby House cafe is filled with robots and characters from

  • Floods prompt evacuations in Kampong Speu

    Rain-induced floods and water flowing from Kampong Speu province have submerged the houses of 1,527 families living close to the Prek Thnot River in Spean Thma, Tien, Kong Noy and Roluos communes in Phnom Penh’s Dangkor district, according to data from local authorities. Spean Thma