Video: Ineos Grenadiers Launch a Mountain Bike Team with Tom Pidcock

Mar 19, 2021 at 3:46
by James Smurthwaite  

Ineos Grenadiers (formerly Team Sky), the biggest and reportedly richest World Tour road cycling team, has begun its first-ever mountain bike program with Tom Pidcock as the sole rider.

Pidcock was the Under 23 and eMTB World Champion last year while riding for the Trinity team on Specialized bikes. He was signed to Ineos for his exceptional road and cyclocross palmares that include several junior World Championships. He has made a strong start to his road career with Ineos including a fifth place at Strade Bianchi and a podium at Kuurne-Brussel-Kuurne.

It looks like he won't be turning his back on mountain biking completely though as Ineos have launched this video showing Tom testing on a mountain bike in Girona, Spain. Ineos' frame sponsor is Pinarello but it looks like Tom will be racing on a BMC FourStroke frame with SR Suntour suspension, a similar set up to the Absolute Absalon team.


Tom's season will begin with a warm up race at the Swiss Cup in Leukerbad then he'll be attending the World Cups in Albstadt, Nove Mesto and Leogang before targeting the World Championships and Olympics.

Kurt Bogaerts, Tom’s coach, explained the difficulties Tom might face as a rookie racer. He said: “The gridding is so key in this discipline. At the first World Cup he’ll start really far behind – around place 92 on the grid. If he does well in Albstadt, if he can achieve a top-16 result, that would allow him into the short track qualifying race for the next World Cup round at Novo Meste. That race will help him set his grid position, and if he can get to that point the situation is essentially in his own hands. It’s all about moving up that grid – so the first World Cup of the year will be a key race to start off and get a good result.

“Once Tom gets through that initial phase of racing all his points come into play. Tom has accumulated a lot of points in the under-23 ranks that don’t count for anything at the moment. It’s his first year racing at the elite level in MTB, so all his points going forward will be key looking ahead to the Olympics.”

It makes a lot of sense for Ineos to begin an XC program, after all, the team is named after a 4x4 vehicle. If the team commits seriously they could really shake things up as their road team shows they have resources to burn. We'll be keeping a close eye on Tom’s progress and update you with any info as we get it.


103 Comments

  • 73 17
 Ineos reaĺly don't need to gain publicity to sell their petrochemical products. Their involvement in cycling is all about distracting the world from the harm they do.
  • 6 4
 Yup, that's about it.
  • 1 0
 Lustran 348 awareness
  • 6 1
 What harm do they do?
  • 15 6
 We are a long way from being non reliant on petrochemical products. The fuels, chemicals and compounds that are refined from natural gas and oil are present in basically all modern products and consumables. Companies that provide these products are therefore essential at this point in time, so to only focus on the harm they do really does serve no purpose. Brand awareness and corporate image are all part and parcel of running a successful business that provides employment for millions of people globally.
  • 3 3
 @bicycle019: They sound like a typical fossil fuel based energy company. Energy production is a dirty business.
  • 4 3
 @ahall: We can still choose not to support their marketing efforts.
  • 13 3
 Yeah because UAE and Bahrain have pristine records in every regard......and Marlboro really cared about car racing back when they were allowed to sponsor it ????
  • 4 0
 @abayers: Their marketing efforts are both strategic and profitable. You can choose not to support them but they do serve a purpose.
  • 7 1
 check what Ineos produce. not just petrol. chemicals for plastic products used in everyday life by me and you. chemical products used in Toray carbon production. wtf! it´s in our BIKES!
  • 7 1
 @onterribleftw: Don’t forget Israel Start-Up Nation’s sportwashing while we’re on the topic.
  • 8 2
 @ccmountain: the only nation they’re helping to remain a start up around there is Palestine!
  • 3 3
 Thanks. That was well worth the read @bicycle019:
Climate change and pollution affects everyone and everything. So everyone and everything need to change. I really liked the film No Impact Man about Colin Beavan
colinbeavan.com/books
If we don’t buy plastic.he can’t sell it
  • 6 0
 @ahall: Companies like Ineos spend lots of money and effort to avoid environmental regulations being enacted into law and to avoid complying with the ones that are already law. They foul the oceans, rivers, streams and air and pay nothing for the privilege instead shifting the costs to the public. That not only make plastic they fight for the right to do it in as dirty a way as possible:

unearthed.greenpeace.org/2019/03/23/ineos-chemicals-environment-pollution-eu-lobbying
  • 3 1
 @jclnv: Especially when you are constantly break the law doing it like Ineos "An analysis of data from the Environment Agency (EA) also reveals the plant clocked up 176 permit violations between 2014 and 2017, 90 of which related to air and water emissions".

unearthed.greenpeace.org/2019/03/23/ineos-chemicals-environment-pollution-eu-lobbying
  • 6 8
 Bashing someone with your holier than thou indignation about their product whilst sitting in a home with electricity and heat, not to mention a car in the drive with a carbon bike in the garage. If you didn't purchase these things they could move on to something actually profitable like selling you something else you buy. Wish I could have downvoted 2x.
  • 4 2
 @medallion74: Individual choices are the solution to global problems created by massive wealthy conglomerates? Is it really holier than thou to point out flagrant violations of law in pursuit of profit? I wish I could convince you to read a book not written by Ayn Rand.
  • 2 0
 @Veggiemoto: How do the UK/EU standards compare to China where the majority of plastics are produced?

I’m betting they’re vastly higher and a drop in the ocean (no pun intended) compared to Indonesia, Russia and China.
  • 1 0
 Qhubeka Assos for the win then...
  • 2 2
 @medallion74: Bottom line...this is sports. That we watch for entertainment. Does rooting against an Ineos/UAE/Bahrain/Israel Startup athlete make any difference in the world whatsoever? No, it doesn't. Am I still going to root against every team that basically only exists to put a positive PR spin on human rights violations or the destruction of our planet? Hell yes, I am. It's honestly a bit disappointing when a talented rider like Pidcock signs for a team like Ineos, because I'm just going to be hoping he gets a stick in his spokes every race. Wish I didn't have to.
  • 2 0
 @abayers: You’re f*cked in the head.
  • 1 0
 @abayers: That is a shame. You will be constantly disappointed as the revelation that no person or group measures up to your levels of virtue. Being aware and discerning is one thing but wishing ill of people or groups that don't align with your world theory is another thing.
  • 2 0
 @abayers: Makes no less sense (and probably more) than rooting against a team because it happens to be based farther away from your current or childhood home than the other team.
  • 1 0
 @ahall: Oh, I already realize that nothing in pro cycling will live up to my level of virtue, but does that mean I can't wish that it would? And you're right, I certainly don't hope for anyone to get hurt; the stick in the spokes comment was a bit extreme. But I definitely hope Ineos doesn't make it on a single podium this year, decides that their marketing dollars are better spent elsewhere, and gets out of the sport I love.
  • 1 0
 @mtb-thetown: Exactly, isn't how we choose a favorite soccer, basketball, or football team usually pretty arbitrary? Either you're from that area, or you like a certain player, or I don't know, you dig their uniforms or something. I don't have any connection to any pro road cycling teams, but I don't have any reason to be against Quickstep (floors) or Bora (showers), for example. Bahrain Victorious? Ineos? Just never going to support them.
  • 1 0
 @abayers: I just want Van der Poel to win cause he's a mountain biker
  • 52 1
 Any word on what his brother, Stu, is up to?
  • 6 0
 Underrated comment.
  • 35 3
 No Fracking Way!
  • 26 3
 I would say there's an irony in the largest UK petrochemical company sponsoring human and wind powered sports, but the cynic in me knows its plain and simple green-washing
  • 15 0
 Race programme is in the press release Pinkbike! Smile

www.ineosgrenadiers.com/article/pidcock-mtb-race-programme-announced

A few WC's and the Olympics.

Interesting article in the link above where they talk about the issue with Pidcock having no Elite points and having to work up from the back of the field, with the aim of a top 16 place at WC round 1, to enable entry into the short track at round 2. Like VdP I can see Pidcock lighting up the short track if he can get in.
  • 3 0
 Thanks!
  • 12 2
 richest team - can launch another men's team in new discipline in weeks. Takes years of board meetings and still 'planning' possible women's team in any discipline. Fracking Dinosaurs
  • 9 10
 A women's cycling team is a hard sell to any possible investor. With women pushing for equal pay while participating in a sport with very little fan following, less female participation, far fewer bike sales of high end bikes, not one household name, no history or heritage as seen in men's cycling (The Monuments, Grand Tours). The business model is not too pretty. Fracking Dinosaurs maybe but smart wealthy Dinosaurs nonetheless.
  • 19 3
 @ahall: WTF are you watching? Women's cycling is phenomenal right now. Womens XC racing is way better than mens, and the womens' road racing so far this year has been epic.
  • 2 1
 Agree completely. Trek Segafredo had a phenomenal year last year for both men and women, this year has been off to a good start as well. Surprised that the Ineos team management doesn't seem to care about success in the women's peloton.
  • 5 2
 @ratedgg13: I have watched amazing Sunday league soccer matches and I have also watched terrible Premier League soccer matches. Investors are not lining up to give my local pub team millions......why? Because they are not relevant enough to people that are willing to spend their money based on that support. The present entertainment levels of a sport do not convince companies and investors to spend hard earned money. Global participation, fan support and sales drive investment.
  • 6 0
 @ahall: Its almost like investing in sport drives success? Might be a circular thing where it takes time and resources for it to develop?
  • 2 4
 @ratedgg13: I do agree with you that investment can drive success. When huge amounts of media and money have been thrown at women's sport in the past they have been a commercial failure.....just take a look at the USA women's soccer team. They tried to make them household names but you can't force the market. There are acceptations though thankfully in sports like tennis and more recently MMA with female athletes attracting equivalent support from fans and receiving equal purses and sponsorship money. It's all a case of supply and demand.
  • 6 1
 @ahall: women's cyclocross in 2020 had more viewers than men's cyclocross did... but women are still paid a fraction of what men are paid
  • 4 1
 @ahall: Except that you're wrong. USA women's soccer team outsold any other jersey sold by Nike: www.reuters.com/article/us-soccer-worldcup-usa-jersey-idUSKCN1TW3U7
And if you think that Megan Rapinoe isn't a household name in a lot of the USA, I'm not sure what to say. Is she as widely known as LeBron or Peyton Manning, you're right, but neither is Aaron Gwinn.
  • 1 9
flag ahall (Mar 19, 2021 at 13:52) (Below Threshold)
 @ratedgg13: I would love to see the sales analytics of those USA women's jersey's. The graph would show huge sales during the world cup and then very little after. Megan Rapinoe was the media's obsession for a month or so, she was forced into the publics consciousness. I can't imagine many people are too concerned about her now. The only thing I remember about that team is they were beaten by Dallas under 15 boys team www.dailymail.co.uk/sport/football/article-4389760/USA-women-s-team-suffer-5-2-loss-FC-Dallas-U-15-boys.html
  • 1 0
 @sfrancey: I very much doubt that....Source?
  • 4 1
 @ahall:
nielsensports.com/global-interest-womens-sports-rise
Heres a whole big report for you, on the growth of women's sport.
www.usatoday.com/story/sports/ncaab/2021/03/18/march-madness-ncaa-slammed-unequal-amenities-men-women/4759012001
And here is some bullshit where women aren't getting fair treatment.
Given the same support that men receive (funding, prize money, resources, etc), we'd be seeing a VERY different dynamic in viewership, sales and performance. If you can't acknowledge that, you might be part of the problem.
  • 2 0
 @ratedgg13: right the women's field is so competitive! Unlike the men racing for 2nd behind MDVP.
  • 1 5
flag ahall (Mar 19, 2021 at 16:24) (Below Threshold)
 @ratedgg13: I agree, the conditions for women to thrive in sport will no doubt improve somewhat with cash injection. As far as performance goes I doubt we'll be seeing any women cranking out 450 watts for an hour anytime soon.
  • 3 0
 @ahall: sure, there's some biological differences, but there's also some contexts where women are better (the next generation of female rock climbers for example are showing up the men) Raw power doesn't equate to better or more interesting racing.
  • 2 4
 @ratedgg13: Another example of women outperforming men is Courtney Dauwalter. She has beaten men in numerous ultra running events. I understand that in some cases (incredibly few) women can rival men and even out perform them. For the overwhelming majority of sports though the pinnacle performances and feats of excellence will come from men. This is a huge factor of what fascinates and attracts people to sport and hence the reason why female sports in general will always fail to rival male sports in terms of following, sponsorship, prize money and investment as a whole.
  • 4 0
 @ahall: "pinnacle performances and feats of excellence" are not exclusively linked to strength. For example, many Canadians (myself included) preferred junior & Olympic ice hockey to NHL ice hockey because junior & Olympic level (used to) be junior level athletes (aka mostly net yet famous) who focused on technique, as opposed to NHL hockey where physicality and combat played a more major role, where strength was dominant.
The womens peloton in road biking is often far more strategic than mens. Plus, when fields are similar and racing/competition is good, who cares who has the overall fastest time? Pinnacle performances and feats of excellence can be found in any sport by either gender and be equally enjoyable to watch - regardless of which gender technically 'performs' at a 'higher' level. Your suggestion to the contrary, to be honest, is pretty sexist.
  • 1 0
 @ratedgg13: Sexist maybe. We'll have to agree to disagree. I hope for the sake of women's sport that there are more people like you than me in this world. Appreciate your points of view.
  • 1 0
 Due to statisical problems with small sample size there is no firm proof that women can beat men. (Ultra running stats is used as an example when teaching at undergraduate level)
BUT in races longer than195 miles women seem so have an advantage. It is believed that estrogen enables better burning of fat @ahall:
  • 1 1
 @gcrider: Thanks bud, just an observation I made not based on any study at all.
  • 1 0
 @sfrancey: In all fairness , i saw that statistic, and it is only in part right, because it is a specific geographical area of the total viewership, which was in favor of the men.
  • 1 0
 @ahall: the 195mile rule has only recently been discovered. So maybe in the future we we have a result. All those ultra athletes are crazy fit or just crazy. Or both. One race she won toke 30hours and 21minutes of sleep. I rode for 11 1/2 hours once. And hated at least 5 hours of that
  • 4 0
 @ratedgg13: Yeah I know who Rapinoe is and I don't know who Peyton Manning is. Rapinoe is totally a household name here in Europe, as is Alex Morgan. I can name 3 US women's team players and only one men's team player. Totally different for England men's and women's teams though...
  • 5 0
 The level of completion in women’s XC and short track has made it incredibly exciting to watch, especially last year. I’m sure Tom will be mixing it up with the top men and make those races even more of a spectacle.
Good luck Tom, been over 30 years since GB had a man on the XC World Cup overall podium.
  • 10 2
 Ineos Grenadiers doing all they can to distract from the Richard Freeman debacle.
  • 3 0
 Patiently waiting for them to say "That was the old Sky Team that did these things, under different management. We are the new guys and we don't allow those things" while waiting at the Service Course in Spain for the "monthly package" to show up....
  • 1 4
 @yetirich: the service course is in Belgium. looks like you know a lot, you should inform the authorities. but unfortunately "anti-doping" (or to say better, anti-Sky) is not based on hopes, wishes and guessing.
  • 5 0
 Good to see Tom is not becoming a Ineos drone as I feared.
I really hope he can somehow get through the traffic on the first lap, so so long since the uk has had a male xc contender, Liam Killeen would be the last at Elite world cup level then before that Tim Gould/David Baker and Nick Craig in the 90's.
  • 4 0
 "Tom has accumulated a lot of points in the under-23 ranks that don’t count for anything at the moment."

Well they do, because with out his points GB would not be in the top 21 nations, and be unable to send a rider. (GB is 20th)
uci.org/mountain-bike/rankings Rules, www.uci.org/docs/default-source/official-documents/tokyo-2020---olympic-games/final---202-08-10---tokyo-2020---revised-qualification-system---cycling-mtb---eng.pdf

So any DNF or v bad races could see him not qualify!

GB woman on the other hand, are kicking butt, thanks to Evie, Isla and Annie, GB ranked 5th and be able to send 2 riders!!
  • 4 0
 Good to see he's still going to be able to race XC but I was hoping he would stay with Trinity. He's another up-n-coming rider that'll make the Men's field more interesting that's for sure. They're going to need a few more like him to be as interesting as the ladies XC field though.
  • 6 0
 MVDP vs Pidcock vs Nino Please bring in Wout Van Aert !!!
  • 1 0
 Pidcock vs van Aert looks like a good match up on the road. Love to see that on dirt!

www.cyclingnews.com/races/de-brabantse-pijl-la-fleche-brabanconne-2021/elite-men/results
  • 3 0
 Read the title and immediately looked at the calendar to make sure it wasn’t April 1st.
Great to see another pro tour team expanding into the mtb scene.
  • 1 0
 I'm gonna risk the neg-props here, but I'm genuinely intrigued by the down-votes on comments mentioning the team's chequered past.
I don't think anyone is suggesting Tom is/will be involved in anything shady, but maybe some people are either refusing to accept, or trying to forget that Ineos (nee Sky) has courted controversy more than a few times. I think they've been savvy enough to avoid EPO, but the history of some suspect timings of TUIs, and the blurring of financial, coaching and organisational lines between the private team and team GB cycling has generated a dark cloud that I genuinely hope Tom can be free of.
Or, are the down-votes because voicing these concerns perpetuates the stigma around one of the most successful teams in the history of cycling?
  • 4 4
 If MVdP is anything to go by, a background in CX should translate well to chunkier tyre side of things for Tom.
We can only hope that "the resources of Ineos Grenadiers" doesn't come with the (jiffy) baggage they had in the team sky days.
  • 7 0
 Considering he made a clean sweep of all of last years (limited) world cup stops and championships in the U23 and E-MTB category so yeah.. it already has translated well
  • 1 1
 Not sure I'm a massive fan of a presence of ineos in MTB, not unless they give a lot back to the wider community Ineos seem to be increasing their presence in sport, they bought a third of the Mercedes F1 team last year. They also have the Americas Cup team. I can just imagine them using their mega money and setting up a super commercial team.
  • 2 2
 Ineos is dropping major money in the sports marketing world. Usually the higher cost stuff. I hope that they are able to sell their truck in high enough levels to be able to keep this up. New, competitive programs are great.
  • 2 0
 Doesn't Jim Ratcliffe (Ineos CEO) ride MTB? Wonder if he's got a PB account... Big Grin
  • 11 1
 Jim Ratcliffe, the Brexit supporter who moved to Monaco to avoid paying tax in the UK and is now going to build his Landrover clone in France?
He can green wash all he likes, he'll still be a total ****
  • 1 0
 The Absolute Absalon BMC team are sponsored by RockShox this year, so they won't be using SR Suntour suspension, just to let you know.
  • 1 0
 Since wheel choice is not limited by sponsor or money, I'll be interested to know which wheels he chooses to race. Let us know PinkBike.
  • 1 0
 This generation of.young multi disciplinary champs is just amazing to watch. This kid has a huge motor and the skills to match it ! Excited !
  • 2 0
 If the course has long steep climbs he’ll be hard to beat.
  • 1 0
 he races cross, he has phenomenal 5 minute power too
  • 3 1
 dont bring those doping allegation in mtb, stay classy road team.
  • 1 0
 CycloCross guys going to win the Olympic XCmtb medals too? In addition to the road race and time trial medals?? hahahaha
  • 1 0
 anybody that criticises petrochemical use is a hypocrite. End of. Good luck to Tom.
  • 2 1
 What bike is he riding now? He was riding Specialized Epic before Ineos.
  • 7 0
 Ineos are sponsored by Pinerello but they don't have a MTB. So he is riding a blacked out BMC FourStroke.
  • 6 0
 @othello: They shoulda put that in the article or something! Smile
  • 1 0
 @othello: Thanks for clearing that up. I thought it looked like a BMC.
  • 4 0
 @othello: and a Syncros Silverton SL wheelset
  • 1 0
 @flupke73: Yeah - curious about the wheels, as you can also see him testing Duke rims. I wonder which one was getting the various comments from the video.
  • 3 0
 @jspier: On the road Ineos have been happy to purchase their own kit if the sponsor offering isn't what they are after, and particularly wheels. They ride Shimano road wheels often, but then have Lightweight wheels for mountain stages, which Ineos have bought themselves. On time trials they don't use the Shimano Pro wheels, and instead use some blacked out ones from other suppliers. If they can get an advantage from paying out £££ they will.

In this instance for Tom and MTB, they have looked at the market and gone 'which are the best wheels out there', and bought sets of each to test. They have deep pockets!
  • 1 0
 Curious lack of elbow scars for a pro cyclist
  • 1 1
 What bike is he riding? Pinarello does not have a MTB in their line up do they?
  • 1 0
 *Nino Schurter has left the conversation
  • 3 3
 Higher salaries and more doping scandals, here we come.
  • 2 2
 doping scandal. Wada is not involved. ok. 30 testo patches in 2011 when Pidcock was 11? when Ineos didnt sponsor the team?. you know what a doping scandal is? look for Aderlass. blood, Epo, confessions. actual doping bust.
  • 2 1
 @pastronef: This isn't about Pidcock. This is about Ineos, formerly Team Sky, which has been constantly in the news for their doping practices. Hopefully Pidcock doesn't get caught up in their mess.
  • 1 1
 @iliveonnitro: thei doping practices. legal ketones, legal tramadol, legal TUEs, illegal 30 testo patches. which other doping practices? any epo-blood bust? I mean any antidoping investigation? (the Freeman tribunal is a medical tribunal, not a doping one).
  • 1 0
 because you really think a guy like Schurter runs on orange juice ? He had multiples TUEs...
  • 1 0
 I see now! BMC.
  • 1 0
 Good luck Tom!
  • 2 3
 Palmares? Really giving that thesaurus a workout.
  • 13 0
 Very normal thing to say in the road cycling world,
  • 1 9
flag Starch-Anton (Mar 19, 2021 at 11:37) (Below Threshold)
 @ccmountain: I must admit, I don't like people using road cycling terms in off road cycling - it's a different sport and doesn't have all the hang ups road cycling has.

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