Brailsford hints health issues could see him step down as Ineos boss

Dave Brailsford has hinted he could step down as Ineos Grenadiers boss due to health concerns.

The 57-year-old team principal was in Paris for the final stage of the Tour de France on Sunday but has not been visible at any other stage.

Brailsford was treated for prostate cancer in 2019 and earlier this year needed surgery after suffering a heart issue.

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He admits he may have to stand down if his health gets any worse.

“If I do have any further health issues, I won’t be able to continue. I’m pretty clear about that,” he told The Guardian.

“I’m trying to look after myself but I’m here to help other people, to lead and support other people. If the moment comes when you’re trying to support yourself more, then it’s time to get out.

“When you have what you think are life-threatening moments twice in the space of two years, you wonder what will happen.

The cancer one was scary but manageable, but the heart issue felt different, way more scary. Then you start asking the question: ‘how long will my health last?’

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The former Team Sky boss says his health has not worsened because of stress relating to the medical tribunal into former team doctor Richard Freeman, who was guilty of ordering testosterone “knowing or believing” it was for a rider.

He added: “It’s a stressful job, that goes with the territory. Not only in the last year, but over the last 10 years I think. When you’re successful like we have been, you get a lot of questions asked.

“Coming to France in the past, and the challenges we’ve had – it’s part of the job, and it takes some resilience to deal with that.”

Brailsford’s team has failed to add to its Tour de France overall wins for the second year running, but he has defended the work of the team.

He said: “When we came into the race, we knew we were up against what we thought was going to be two very strong contenders in [Tadej] Pogacar and Primoz Roglic. We felt, off the back of the week-long stage races [we had won], with the guys in form, that we’d be able to have a multi-pronged attack. But that first week Geraint [Thomas] crashed, there were crashes for the other guys and that changed the dynamic for us totally.

“We never got into the flow of it from there and it changed the opportunities for us. Roglic crashing out also changed the dynamic of the race so it ended up being a very different race than we expected.

“On the other hand I’m very proud of Carapaz. He’s the first Ecuadorian to finish on the podium of the Tour, he’s ridden with such heart and commitment.

This is our 34th Grand Tour and we’ve won 12 and I don’t think that’s an accident. There have been two Grand Tours this year. We have won one and finished third in the other. We have won more stage races this year than we have ever won, so I’m not sure where any pessimism is coming from.

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Tour de France standings – GC, points jersey, mountains classification

Tadej Pogacar (UAE Team Emirates) bids to defend the title he snatched on the final competitive stage in 2020. The Slovenian stunned compatriot Primoz Roglic (Jumbo-Visma) on the Stage 20 individual time trial, allowing him to wear the yellow jersey into Paris.

Both riders will return but this time there is an extra threat: a rejuvenated Ineos Grenadiers. Ineos had a difficult 2020 Tour as Egan Bernal battled a back injury, leaving them without a serious GC challenger, but return with an imposing squad. Former champion Geraint Thomas and Richard Carapaz will share leadership duties, with Richie Porte and Tao Geoghegan Hart poised as super-domestiques.

Julian Alaphilippe (Deceuninck–QuickStep) is out to make an impression having worn yellow at the past two Tours – although not when it truly matters. Rigoberto Uran (EF Education-Nippo) and Miguel Angel Lopez (Movistar) also arrive with GC ambitions.

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Mark Cavendish (Deceuninck–QuickStep) headlines the sprinters’ party, having been drafted in for the 2020 green jersey Sam Bennett. Can he close the gap on Eddy Merckx in the all-time stage wins chart? The Brit is on 30, four behind the legendary Belgian.

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Who is top of the GC standings (yellow jersey)?

After Stage 8

  • 1. Tadej Pogacar (Slo) UAE Team Emirates 29h 38′ 25″
  • 2. Wout Van Aert (Bel) Jumbo-Visma +1′ 48″
  • 3. Alexey Lutsenko (Kaz) Astana-Premier Tech +4′ 38″
  • 4. Rigoberto Uran (Col) EF Education-Nippo + 4′ 46″
  • 5. Jonas Vingegaard (Den) Jumbo-Visma +5′ 00″
  • 6. Richard Carapaz (Ecu) Ineos Grenadiers + 5′ 01″
  • 7. Wilco Kelderman (Ned) Bora – Hansgrohe + 5′ 13″
  • 8. Eric Mas (Spa) Movistar Team +5′ 15″
  • 9. David Gaudu (Fra) Groupama – FDJ + 5′ 52″
  • 10. Peio Bilbao (Spa) Bahrain Victorious + 6′ 41″

Who is top of the points classification (green jersey)?

After Stage 8

  • 1. Mark Cavendish (GB) Deceuninck-QuickStep, 168 points
  • 2. Michael Matthews (Aus) Team BikeExchange, 113
  • 3. Mathieu van der Poel (Ned) Alpecin – Fenix 103
  • 4. Jasper Philipsen (Bel) Alpecin – Felix, 102
  • 5. Nacer Bouhanni (Fra) Team Arkea-Samsic, 99

Who is top of the mountains classification (polka dot jersey?)

After Stage 8

  • 1. Wout Poels (Ned) Bahrain Victorious 23 points
  • 2. Michael Woods (Can) Israel Start-Up Nation 16
  • 3. Dylan Teuns (Bel) Bahrain Victorious 12

Who is top of the young rider’s classification (white jersey)?

After Stage 8

  • 1. Tadej Pogacar (Slo) UAE Team Emirates 29h 38′ 25″
  • 2. Jonas Vingegaard (Den) Jumbo-Visma +5′ 00″
  • 3. David Gaudu (Fra) Groupama-FDJ +5′ 52″

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