Sir Dave Brailsford, Tao Geoghegan Hart and Pavel Sivakov have all outlined their excitement at tackling the 2019 Giro d’Italia.
Yet Brailsford is full of optimism for his young team - the youngest he has ever selected for a Grand Tour - in what will be the team’s first Grand Tour as Team INEOS.
Sir Dave Brailsford
These guys have been sensational already this year and it’s a liberating way to approach a race.
“We’re not tied to a rigid approach, we can be more flexible, we can be more animated, we can learn, we can make mistakes, we can try crazy things. These guys have been sensational already this year and it’s a liberating way to approach a race.”
Sivakov was philosophical when asked about Bernal’s misfortune. The entire team has been hit by the young Colombian’s crash but is determined to race hard.
Arriving on the back of winning the Tour of the Alps last month, Sivakov said: “We knew we were going to the Giro with Egan as the leader and it’s sad as we could have been battling for the win with him.
“On the other hand, it opens up an opportunity for us and in our sport when we have opportunities we have to take them.
“It will change our approach - more mentally because physically it doesn’t change anything. I was coming here focused on being at my best to help Egan, and now I hope to be at my best to try and do something myself.”
Set to start his second Grand Tour, the Brit said: “I think we can take the Tour of the Alps as confirmation that we are both moving forwards and with this new team we have a generation of guys coming through. You saw that at the Tour de Yorkshire with Eddie Dunbar and Chris Lawless on the podium in our first race in the new colours.
“It’s something special that we won our last race as Team Sky with two young riders on the podium, then we won our first stage race as Team INEOS with two more young riders on the podium.
“Pavel and I have taken a couple of weeks at home after Tour of the Alps - I also had Liege-Bastogne-Liege in that time – but I think we’ve got momentum and I think there’s a lot to be said for momentum in sport, especially the past couple of days watching the Champions League. That showed how incredible sport can be.”
He added: “We’ve worked carefully to try and select a young group with a future in mind. We’ve been doing pretty well with our older group, but you have to have one eye on the future and this is the first big step for them collectively to take on a Grand Tour.”