SIR DAVE BRAILSFORD has admitted the Ineos Grenadiers need to go back to the drawing board if they want to recapture past Tour de France glories.
Brailsford was speaking for the first time since last year’s Tour winner, Egan Bernal, saw his title defence collapse on Sunday’s Grand Colombier.
While Bernal has proved no match for yellow-jersey holder Primoz Roglic, the race leader’s team Jumbo-Visma have also dominated the Tour in a manner once synonymous with Brailsford’s men. ‘Have we got to go back to the drawing board? Totally — and that’s quite exciting in some respects,’ Brailsford said.
‘We’ve got to put together a team and a coaching staff that can deliver and try and win the race again.’
Bernal’s struggles have again raised questions over Brailsford’s decision to leave both Geraint Thomas and Chris Froome out of his Tour squad.
But a defiant Brailsford said. ‘I don’t gamble,’ pointing to both riders’ lack of form before the race. ‘People are entitled to their opinions but I didn’t gamble with selection. They were big decisions. Sometimes they work, sometimes they don’t. I’m sure that people have a lot to say but they’re not privy to the facts that I’ve got.’
Yesterday was frustrating for Ineos too, with Richard Carapaz one of three riders to join a breakaway on stage 16 from La Tour-du-Pin to Villard-de-Lans, but Germany’s Lennard Kamna beat Carapaz to victory.
Bernal’s woes were again illustrated as he could not stay with the main contenders, tumbling further down the general classification to 16th.
‘It’s an absolutely awesome day,’ Kamna said. ‘It was a fight from the beginning and I knew I had to make it to the finish alone. It’s a big, big relief for the team and me. I can almost not imagine it. I’m so pleased to win.’
Roglic finished alongside second-placed Tadej Pogacar to maintain the 40-second gap between them. Today’s stage from Grenoble to the Col de la Loze could well be decisive.