Sources: Ineos Grenadiers’ exodus continues as riders and staff said to exit at end of season

Multiple riders, including Ethan Hayter, Thymen Arensman, Jhonatan Narváez and key staffer Dan Bigham are said to be on their way out.

Jonny Long
by Jonny Long 24.06.2024 Photography by
Cor Vos
More from Jonny +

The exodus of talent across both the racing squad and backroom staff at Ineos Grenadiers will continue into this transfer season, sources close to the team have told Escape Collective.

Amongst those riders rumoured to be leaving include new British road racing champion Ethan Hayter, Thymen Arensman and Jhonatan Narváez. Meanwhile, multiple mechanics and performance-focused staff, including Performance Engineer Dan Bigham, who has confirmed he will be moving on later this year.

Arensman, who’s finished 6th overall at the two most recent Giri d’Italia, has been on the market for a while and there are conflicting reports about whether the Dutchman will stay or head for the door. Narváez is apparently set to join Bora-Hansgrohe as the injection of Red Bull money helps to build out the team that pulled off a major coup last year in luring Primož Roglič away from Visma-Lease a Bike. Hayter’s destination is currently unknown.

Josh Tarling, the new British time trial champion who is expected to go on to contest the gold medal in this summer’s Olympic TT event, is also said to have come close to leaving the British squad he only joined last year, but they have apparently managed to hold on to the young star amidst a turbulent period since he joined that has seen many top riders and staff depart.

As for Tom Pidcock, once seen as the team’s homegrown heir apparent to the thrones vacated by Bradley Wiggins, Chris Froome and eventually Geraint Thomas, his future may be up in the air.

There are whispers around the team that Pidcock is currently in negotiations with Ineos Grenadiers over whether he stays or leaves. The 24-year-old currently has a contract, signed in 2022, that runs until the end of 2027.

We contacted Ineos Grenadiers for comment on these claims, and in particular on whether they’ve identified reasons behind this ongoing exodus of talent. They declined to provide a comment, “especially on media speculation on contracts of riders and staff,” they said.

Agents also remained schtum on the matter, while Bigham confirmed to us when approached for comment that he would indeed be leaving the team at the end of the year. Bigham, a former World Hour Record holder himself, was instrumental in Filippo Ganna’s successful attempt at the record in October 2022.

While undoubtedly overblown for the magic of television, the recent Netflix Unchained Tour de France series documented the tension within the team’s 2023 Tour de France squad, where Pidcock clearly wanted to have a defined free role throughout the race and not be expected to sacrifice his chances for teammate Carlos Rodriguez, who finished fifth. Similarly, the Brit recently said that only himself and “nobody else” would decide his role for the 2024 Tour de France.

Tom Pidcock at the recent Tour de Suisse.

Speaking of which, the Ineos 2024 Tour de France squad announcement on Monday stated Carlos Rodriguez and Egan Bernal would spearhead the Tour team, an indication of Ineos’ priorities this Tour, with Performance Director Scott Drawer saying Pidcock (and Geraint Thomas) would be “providing support but also looking to race aggressively, disrupt and take the race to our competition.”

As recently as five years, ago, the best talent (British riders especially) wouldn’t have even considered a better WorldTour life was possible outside Ineos Grenadiers, but now clearly see greater opportunities elsewhere.

Alongside UAE Team Emirates and Visma-Lease a Bike, Ineos Grenadiers have one of the highest budgets in the sport, rumoured to be around €50 million. More to the point, Ineos is the only one of those three that doesn’t have a development squad, a stumbling block in attracting and nurturing top talent early.

Last year, the British team lost Ben Tulett (Visma-Lease a Bike), Tao Geoghegan Hart (Lidl-Trek), Luke Plapp (Jayco-AlUla), Pavel Sivakov (UAE Team Emirates) and Dani Martínez (Bora-Hansgrohe), while the team’s Deputy Team Principal Rod Ellingworth also left.

Of the eight riders on the team who have expiring contracts at the end of 2024, Arensman, Narváez and Hayter are all expected to leave, Luke Rowe is retiring, while the futures of Elia Viviani, Jonathan Castroviejo, Connor Swift and Cameron Wurf are currently unclear.

What did you think of this story?