On this day in 2019, Team Sky were sold to British billionaire Sir Jim Ratcliffe, to be renamed as Team Ineos from May 1.
The previous December, Sky – title sponsors since the team’s inception a decade earlier – had announced they would withdraw their sponsorship of the team by the end of the 2019 season following the company’s acquisition by Comcast.
After several months in which team principal Sir Dave Brailsford was left searching for new backing, a deal was agreed which saw Ratcliffe, Britain’s richest man, add the team to his growing stable of sporting interests.
For his money, the billionaire bought a team that had won six of the previous seven editions of the Tour de France as well as one Giro d’Italia and one Vuelta a Espana – a second Vuelta title was subsequently added when Chris Froome was retrospectively declared the winner of the 2011 race.
Though Sky had initially intended to back the team for the remainder of 2019, the deal saw them rebranded as Team Ineos midway through the season.
The team launch was held to coincide with the start of the Tour de Yorkshire on May 1, though the team’s first race in their new colours was actually the Tour de Romandie, which started a day earlier, as UCI rules prevent teams from racing under two different names at the same time.
Success has continued under the guise of Ineos, with Egan Bernal winning the Tour de France just months after the takeover was completed, while Tao Geoghegan Hart added a Giro title in 2020.
However, old controversies have also carried over through the change of name, with former Team Sky and British Cycling doctor Richard Freeman found guilty of ordering banned testosterone “knowing or believing” it was intended to dope a rider earlier this month.