The creation of the team was announced on 26 February 2009, with the major sponsorship provided by BSkyB. The company was searching for a sport in which they could have a positive and wide-ranging impact through their sponsorship. British Cycling first began their relationship with BSkyB in 2008 with a £1 million sponsorship in the Sky Track Cycling team following the Summer Olympics in which British cyclists excelled. After a trip to the Manchester Velodrome, home of the National Cycling Centre, in 2008, BSkyB chairman James Murdoch quickly became keen on the sport. Over the summer of 2008 BSkyB were lobbied by British Cycling and key figures such as David Brailsford and Chris Boardman to launch a British road cycling team which would compete in road cycling's major events. BSkyB agreed to finance the team with the aim of a British rider winning the Tour de France within five years. Initially a supermarket was in talks to become a co-sponsor.
Team Sky's original intention was to build a 25-man squad with a core of British riders and to nurture the young talent. The first six riders confirmed were Geraint Thomas, Steve Cummings, Chris Froome, Russell Downing, Ian Stannard and Peter Kennaugh, all British riders. The ambition to "ensure competitiveness" through other signings, including a number of foreign riders, was expressed. On 10 September 2009, a further ten riders were confirmed as set to ride for the team. These were Edvald Boasson Hagen, Thomas Löfkvist, Kurt Asle Arvesen, Simon Gerrans, Juan Antonio Flecha, Kjell Carlström, John-Lee Augustyn, Greg Henderson, Lars Petter Nordhaug, and Morris Possoni. Further additions to the squad, including Chris Sutton and Bradley Wiggins from Garmin-Slipstream, Michael Barry, and Ben Swift from Team Katusha were made before the beginning of the 2010 season. Prior to their first season six jerseys were screen tested to ensure visibility whilst filmed in race conditions.
2010: The beginning
The team gained a victory in its first race in January 2010, the Cancer Council Helpline Classic in Adelaide, Australia, a one-day race prior to the Tour Down Under, with Greg Henderson and Chris Sutton taking first and second respectively. Team Sky's first ProTour event was the Tour Down Under in January. The team was awarded a wild-card entry for the Tour de France. Team Sky was also invited to compete in the other two of the year's Grand Tours. In February 2010 the team got its first one-day victory when Juan Antonio Flecha won the Belgian semi-classic Omloop Het Nieuwsblad with a solo break.
On 9 May Wiggins became the first Sky rider to wear the leader's jersey of a Grand Tour when he won the opening prologue of the Giro d'Italia. That same month Ben Swift became the first rider to win an overall classification winning the Tour de Picardie. In the Team's first Tour de France, Geraint Thomas finished second on the cobblestones of stage three, and wore the white jersey as leader of the young rider classification. The Tour was a disappointment for Sky though, with Thomas Löfkvist in 17th overall being their highest placed rider (Wiggins finished in 24th place). Löfkvist led Team Sky at the Vuelta a España, but the team withdrew after stage seven following the death of soigneur Txema González. In total Team Sky recorded 22 wins in their debut season, with a further 50 podiums.
2011: Grand Tour breakthrough
Team Sky again began the season in Australia, with Ben Swift winning two stages of the Tour Down Under, and finishing third overall. Juan Antonio Flecha and Jeremy Hunt finished fourth and sixth respectively in the Tour of Qatar in February, while Boasson Hagen finished first in the points classification and second overall in the Tour of Oman later that month. In the Classics season, Wiggins finished third overall in Paris–Nice and Geraint Thomas finished second overall at the Dwars door Vlaanderen. The team enjoyed a successful Tour of California, with Ben Swift winning stage two and Greg Henderson taking victory in stage three. At the Giro d'Italia, Thomas Lofkvist was the highest placed Sky rider, finishing 21st overall. The closest the team came to a stage victory was Davide Appollonio's second place on stage 12. Geraint Thomas secured Sky's first overall victory of the season, by winning the five-day Bayern-Rundfahrt race at the end of May. Boasson Hagen and Wiggins also won stages in the event, with Boasson Hagen claiming the points jersey. In June, Wiggins won the Critérium du Dauphiné, an important victory for Sky at the time.
At the Tour de France Sky finished third on stage two, the team time trial. Boasson Hagen secured the team's first ever Tour stage win on stage six. On stage seven, just over 40 km (24.9 mi) from the finish, a crash brought down team leader Wiggins breaking his collarbone and ending his tour. This prompted a change of approach from Sky, with their riders targeting stage wins. On stage nine, Juan Antonio Flecha was hit by a French media car, which resulted in Flecha colliding with Vacansoleil–DCM rider Johnny Hoogerland, who crashed into a barbed-wire fence. Both riders were able to continue despite sustaining injuries in the incident. Geraint Thomas won the combativity award on stage 12. Boasson Hagen came second to compatriot Thor Hushovd (Garmin–Cervélo) on stage 16, before winning the next stage with a solo breakaway. He also finished second on the stage 21 on the Champs-Élysées. Rigoberto Urán was the highest placed Sky rider with 24th overall, whilst Boasson Hagen's efforts gave the team two stage wins in an eventful Tour.
After the Tour de France, Boasson Hagen's good form continued, as he won the Vattenfall Cyclassics and took a clean sweep of jerseys at the Eneco Tour. In the third and final Grand Tour of the 2011 season, the Vuelta a España, Sky riders Froome and Wiggins finished second and third respectively in the general classification. Chris Sutton won stage two, while Froome won stage 17 of the event. On 11 October, it was announced that world champion Mark Cavendish would be joining the team for the 2012 season, bringing an end to months of speculation. He was joined by his HTC–Highroad teammate Bernhard Eisel.
2012: Tour de France victory
In January, Team Sky confirmed their squad for the 2012 season which included eight new signings, Cavendish, Eisel, Sergio Henao, Danny Pate, Richie Porte, Salvatore Puccio, Luke Rowe and Kanstantsin Sivtsov.
At the Tour Down Under in January, Boasson Hagen won the sprint classification. In February Sky claimed the team classification at the Volta ao Algarve, with Porte winning the overall and Boasson Hagen the points classification. Wiggins won the overall classifications in the Paris–Nice in March and the Tour de Romandie in April.
Sky dominated the Tour de France general classification with Wiggins first and Froome second overall, and Cavendish winning three stages including the sprint on the final stage on the Champs-Élysées in Paris. On 9 September, the team achieved their 100th victory with Lars Petter Nordhaug's win in the Grand Prix Cycliste de Montréal. The team also topped the UCI World Tour teams classification, with a total score of 1767 points.
In preparation for the 2013 season, the signings of Vasil Kiryienka and David López García from Movistar Team and 2012 Italian national time trial champion, Dario Cataldo from Omega Pharma–Quick-Step were secured. The team have also signed Gabriel Rasch and on 1 October it was revealed that the team had also signed Joe Dombrowski and Ian Boswell, from the Bontrager-Livestrong team, as neo-pros. The year's Tour of Britain winner, Jonathan Tiernan-Locke had signed a two-year deal with the team. Riders leaving the team at the end of the 2012 season are, Cavendish who will move to Omega Pharma–Quick-Step, Lars Petter Nordhaug to Blanco Pro Cycling, Davide Appollonio to Ag2r–La Mondiale and Juan Antonio Flecha to Vacansoleil–DCM, Alex Dowsett to Movistar Team and Michael Rogers to Saxo Bank–Tinkoff Bank. Michael Barry and Jeremy Hunt will both retire.
Doctor Geert Leinders, who had been employed by the Team since 2011, was subject of an internal investigation after allegations of involvement in doping at Blanco Pro Cycling earlier in his career, and on 9 October it was announced he would no longer work for the team. The impact of the USADA reasoned decision on doping by Lance Armstrong and teammates at the US Postal team led Sky to re-inforce its zero tolerance anti-doping policy, with all riders and staff being subjected to internal interviews. Two members of the coaching staff, Bobby Julich and Steven de Jongh were released from their contracts under the policy. Head Director Sportif Sean Yates also left the squad in October citing personal reasons, although the Telegraph linked his departure to past involvement in doping.
2013: The second Tour de France victory
The 2013 season began with the Tour Down Under, where Geraint Thomas won stage two and claimed the points classification. In February Froome won the overall classification, points classification and stage 5 Tour of Oman. In March Richie Porte won the Paris-Nice, including two of the last three stages in the race, the queen stage and the concluding time trial. Sergio Henao claimed his first victory for the team at the Volta ao Algarve, whilst Froome took a stage win at Tirreno–Adriatico. The team then picked up a one–two at the Critérium International with Froome securing victory with a win on the final stage and Porte finishing runner up with a victory in the stage two time trial, also securing the points competition.
After his victory in the 2012 Tour de France Bradley Wiggins built his early season around targeting the 2013 Giro d'Italia and supporting Froome in the Tour de France. The team took victory in the stage 2 team time trial, culminating in Salvatore Puccio taking over the pink jersey as leader of the general classification. Wiggins was hampered behind a crash on stage 7 and then himself crashed on stage 8. Wiggins abandoned the Giro due to a chest infection on stage 13.
Froome followed up with overall wins at the Tour de Romandie in April and Critérium du Dauphiné in June. Boasson Hagen retained his Tour of Norway title, winning the points classification and stage four of the race in the process. In July, Froome went on to win the 100th and 2013 edition of the Tour de France; claiming dominant stage victories on the stage eight final climb of Ax 3 Domaines, stage 15 to the summit of Mont Ventoux and the stage 17 individual time trial. Froome was narrowly beaten to the King of the Mountains prize by Movistar Teams Colombian climber and runner up, Nairo Quintana.
After the Tour de France, some of the team's key domestiques secured stage victories at the Eneco Tour (David Lopez), and Vuelta a España (Vasil Kiryienka). After the disappointment of the Giro, Wiggins returned with a renewed focus on the 2013 UCI Road World Championships Individual time trial event. As part of his build up he won the seventh stage time trial at the 2013 Tour de Pologne from Fabian Cancellara by a winning margin of 56 seconds. The team then recorded their first ever victory in their home stage race, with Wiggins claiming the overall title in the Tour of Britain winning the stage three time trial in Knowsley Safari park. Wiggins finished his season with second in the World time trial championships, finishing 46 seconds behind triple world champion, Tony Martin, with the team taking the bronze in the team time trial.
2014: Tour failure and the rainbow jersey
On 4 June 2013 it was announced that Australian Nathan Earle of the Continental team, Huon Salmon–Genesys Wealth Advisers, had been signed by the team for the 2014 season. On 1 August 2013, the first day of the cycling transfer window, it was confirmed that Rigoberto Uran would move to Omega Pharma–Quick-Step for the 2014 season. On 22 August it was announced that Mathew Hayman would leave the team at the completion of the season and join Orica–GreenEDGE on a 2-year deal. On 6 September it was announced that the Irishman Philip Deignan of UnitedHealthcare would be joining the team after a strong 2013 season. After heavy speculation at the road world championships it was announced on 1 October that Spanish climber, Mikel Nieve, would join the team on a two-year contract, following the closure of his current team (Euskaltel–Euskadi) at the end of the season. On 23 December Sebastián Henao (cousin of Team Sky rider Sergio Henao) was announced as the team's final signing for the 2014 season.
The 2014 season started off well, Froome defended and retained his Tour of Oman crown and Kennaugh won his first stage race, the Settimana Internazionale di Coppi e Bartali. Throughout the season the team has endured repeated illnesses and injuries, Geraint Thomas pulled out of the Paris-Nice after crashing out on stage seven whilst leading the general classification. Richie Porte abandoned the Tirreno-Adriatico and the Volta Ciclista a Catalunya, resulting in Porte not competing in the Giro d'Italia. A further blow came when Kennaugh pulled out of the Giro, with the team citing illness.
In April the team fortunes began to turn; Froome defended and won the Tour de Romandie, Wiggins won the overall classification of the Tour of California and Geraint Thomas won overall classification of the Bayern-Rundfahrt – each taking control of the race by winning the individual time trial stage respectively. Poor luck returned at the Critérium du Dauphiné, where Froome crashed whilst wearing the leaders jersey, despite taking three stage wins (two stages for Froome, one for Nieve) Froome finished outside of the top 10, 4' 25" down on race winner Andrew Talansky.
In July, Froome returned to racing to defend his Tour de France victory, hopeful of overall victory Froome crashed twice on stage four and abandoned the race (having also crashed the day before) with Xabier Zandio abandoning on the sixth stage of the race. As a result, Richie Porte inherited team leadership duties but lost time in both the Alpine and Pyrenean stages. The team's highest rider on general classification was Nieve in 18th position, 46 minutes 31 seconds behind the winner, Vincenzo Nibali this marked one of the worst performances of the team at the Tour de France. Not selected to ride the Tour, Kennaugh went on to take his second overall race victory at the Tour of Austria, taking the points classification in the process.
After abandoning the Tour de France, Froome announced he would ride the 2014 Vuelta a España where he finished in second position, finishing one minute ten seconds, behind the winner Alberto Contador. Froome was awarded the overall combativity award for the entire race.
In September, Wiggins returned to the Tour of Britain with the stated aim of defending his title. He finished third overall, winning the final day time trial by eight seconds from Sylvain Chavanel. Wiggins returned to action later in September at the road world championships, again with the aim of winning the time trial event. Wiggins won the time trial by over 25 seconds from perennial opponent, Tony Martin. Wiggins won Team Sky's first ever rainbow jersey.
On 28 July 2014, the team announced that Thomas had signed a two-year contract extension, keeping him at the team until the end of the 2016 season. In September Swift signed a two-year contract extension. On 13 August 2014, Cyclingnews.com reported that Edvald Boasson Hagen will not renew his contract and will leave the team at the end of the season.
After the cycling World Championships, Sky announced that they had signed Leopold König, Nicolas Roche, Wout Poels, and Andrew Fenn, with Lars Petter Nordhaug rejoining the team after two years at Belkin. On 1 October 2014, it was announced that Dario Cataldo would leave the team at the end of the season to join Astana. On 24 October, the team announced the signing of their sixth rider, Elia Viviani. American climber Joe Dombrowski will also leave Team Sky to join Cannondale–Garmin. On 5 January 2015, Wiggins signed a contract extension with the team up until and including the 2015 Paris–Roubaix.
2015: The Third Tour de France and another World Championship
On 8 January, Richie Porte scored the team's first victory of the season by winning the Australian National Time Trial championships and went on to record the team's first stage win at the Tour Down Under. Elia Viviani scored his first win for the team, taking sprint victory on stage two of the Dubai Tour.
In February the team dominated the Vuelta an Andalucía and Volta ao Algarve with both Froome and Thomas taking both overall wins respectively. At the end of February Stannard scored the team second classic, taking a second successive victory at Omloop Het Nieuwsblad. The victory was made more impressive as Stannard made the four-man selection with three Etixx–Quick-Step riders; Boonen, Terpstra and Vandenbergh.
The team's next victory came at Paris–Nice where Porte led a team one-two (along with Thomas) at the summit finish of Croix de Chaubouret. Porte won famous the stage 7 time trial to the summit of Col d'Èze. In the same week, Wout Poels recorded his first win for the team when he secured victory on the fifth stage of Tirreno–Adriatico to Castelraimondo.
In late March, Thomas emerged victorious in E3 Harelbeke after attacking his co-breakaway companions, Zdeněk Štybar and Peter Sagan, and soloing to victory. Ben Swift then won the second stage of Settimana Internazionale Coppi e Bartali the same day and Richie Porte moved into the lead and eventually won the Volta a Catalunya Victory in Catalunya represented Porte's second overall win of the season and the fourth for the team.
In April, Bradley Wiggins won his final time trial for the team at the Three Days of De Panne. Later in the same week, Bradley Wiggins retired from the team and joined his own WIGGINS team, allowing him to focus on the 2016 Olympic Games. In late April Porte won the Giro del Trentino taking a decisive stage victory on the queen stage summit finish to Brentonico. The team then rounded off a successful April by taking victory in the Team Time Trial at the Tour de Romandie, placing Geraint Thomas in the yellow leaders jersey whilst new signing Wout Poels underwent surgery on a broken shoulder bone courtesy of his crash at La Fleche Wallonne.
The team began May with success; Lars Petter Nordhaug took the opening stage win at the inaugural Tour de Yorkshire, whilst Ben Swift crashed out later requiring surgery.
The team entered the 2015 Giro d'Italia with Porte as team leader with the aim of winning the general classification. After limiting the time loss in the stage 1 team time trial Elia Viviani secured the first win for the team in a Grand Tour since the 2013 Vuelta a España on stage 2, also taking over the Maglia rossa. On stage 10 Porte lost 47 seconds, docked two minutes fine for accepting outside intervention, resulting in Porte dropping down to 12th on the general classification. Porte lost more time on the uphill finish on stage 12, a further two minutes on stage 13, and 27 minutes on stage 15. He then abandoned on the second rest day.
Chris Froome returned to action at the Critérium du Dauphiné, as part of his build up for the Tour de France, and the team won three stages and took the overall title for the fourth time. Peter Kennaugh opened the team's account taking the victory on stage one, just in front of the bunch sprint finish. Froome went on to dominate the final two summit finish stages, taking victory at
Montée du Bettex (stage 7) and
Modane Valfréjus (stage 8) giving him a lead of 10 seconds over Tejay van Garderen.
The team went into the 2015 Tour de France with their "strongest team ever" After a strong performance on the Mur de Huy Froome took over the race lead, and general classification by one second over Tony Martin. As the Tour entered the second week of racing stage 10 saw the first mountains stage, the summit finish of
La Pierre-Saint-Martin, where Froome went on to take the stage win, putting significant time into his general classification rivals. During the remainder of the race the team faced intense scrutiny regarding their dominant performances; Porte was punched in the ribs by a spectator in the Pyrenees, and Froome had urine thrown at him by another spectator.
On the first rest of the Tour de France Porte confirmed he would leave the team at the end of the season. This would later, in August, be confirmed to be CCC Team. The team signed Alex Peters and Tao Geoghegan Hart as stagiares for the remainder of the season, with the former also signing for two years. In September, Mikel Landa confirmed his move to the team for the 2016 season, with Mikel Nieve also signing a two-year extension with the team. Later, in the same month the team then signed their second neo-pro, Gianni Moscon, Michal Golas, Danny van Poppel, Beñat Intxausti and the 2014 World Road Race champion Michał Kwiatkowski. On 28 September the team confirmed that Nathan Earle, Bernhard Eisel, Danny Pate, Richie Porte, Kanstantsin Siutsou and Chris Sutton would be leaving the team. The team also confirmed that Ian Boswell, Philip Deignan, Sebastian Henao, Peter Kennaugh, Vasil Kiryienka, Christian Knees, Mikel Nieve, Luke Rowe, Ian Stannard and Xabier Zandio would be staying after signing new contract extensions.
Later in September Sky retained the World Time Trial Championships in Richmond when Vasil Kiryienka won by nine seconds from Adriano Malori.
2016: First Monument win and the fourth Tour victory
With Chris Froome delaying the start of his season a number of key deluxe-domestiques were afforded opportunities to aim for race victories at the start of the season. Peter Kennaugh took the team's first one-day race win at the second Cadel Evans Great Ocean Road Race, whilst Wout Poels claimed his first overall GC victory at the Volta a la Comunitat Valenciana, in the process taking two stages, the mountains and the points classifications. Froome returned towards the end of the Australian cycling season to claim the team's first ever GC win at the Herald Sun Tour. Geraint Thomas enjoyed a successful start to his 2016 campaign, notching up overall victories at Volta ao Algarve (for the second successive year) and Paris–Nice. Thomas' victory in the French stage race means that Sky have won four of the past five editions.
Sky entered the spring classics campaign with the perennial aim of claiming their first monument race. New recruit, Michał Kwiatkowski, took his first victory for the team in the E3 Harelbeke semi-classic. As the classics campaign progressed the team showed great consistency, but fell short of their goal again, taking second in Milan–San Remo, fifth at the Tour of Flanders and third at Paris–Roubaix. Upon entering the Ardennes classics the team pinned their hopes on Kwiatkowski at La Fleche Wallonne, to no avail. Entering the final monument of the spring, Liège–Bastogne–Liège, the team again led with Kwiatkowski. Sky finally achieved their coveted monument win, but it wasn't Kwiatkowski, but rather, domestique Wout Poels who emerged victorious on a day with poor weather conditions and enduring snow.
New recruit Mikel Landa claimed his first overall win for team – taking the GC at the 2016 Giro del Trentino only a week after claiming his first stage win for the team. Landa's stated aim for the first half of the season is the Giro d'Italia. Froome added to Sky's race win total by successfully defending his Critérium du Dauphiné title after taking the overall lead with a victory on stage 5 to Vaujany, becoming the fifth rider to win the overall title three times.
The team went into the 2016 Tour de France with what was without question an even stronger squad than the previous year. A week into the race on stage 8, Froome took many by surprise by attacking on the descent of the Col de Peyresourde which caught his main rivals off guard, resulting in a solo victory into Bagnères-de-Luchon to take the yellow jersey. On stage 11 to Montpellier in crosswinds, he gained more time as part of a 4-man breakaway in the final 12 kilometres of the stage alongside green jersey wearer Peter Sagan, Sagan's Tinkoff teammate Maciej Bodnar, and Froome's own teammate Geraint Thomas, placing second to Sagan in a sprint finish.
On stage 12 to Mont Ventoux (which was shortened to Chalet Reynard due to high winds), Froome was involved in a crash involving a stopped motorbike that also sent Richie Porte and Bauke Mollema down. With no usable bike, Froome had no choice but to run partway up the mountain until he was able to get a spare bike from his team car. Provisionally he had fallen to sixth place overall which would have given the yellow jersey to Adam Yates, however race officials decided to give him and Porte the same time as Mollema, ensuring Froome would hold on to his first overall position.
Superb performances in both the individual time trials (second on stage 13 to La Caverne du Pont-d'Arc and winner of stage 18 to Megève) allowed Froome to gain even more time on his rivals, and despite a crash on stage 19 to Saint-Gervais-les-Bains where he finished the stage on Thomas' bike with support from Wout Poels, it was enough for him to win the race overall 4:05 ahead of second-placed Romain Bardet, becoming the first British rider to win the Tour on three occasions, the fourth rider to become a 3-time winner (joining Philippe Thys, Louison Bobet and Greg LeMond), and the first since Miguel Indurain in 1995 to successfully defend his title. It was also the first time the team finished a Grand Tour with all nine riders intact.
Sky started off their 2016 Vuelta a España campaign in late August by winning the team time trial on stage 1 and holding the red jersey for 2 days before surrendering it on stage 3, where Chris Froome took a 4th-place finish at Mirador de Ézaro to elevate himself into third place in the overall standings. He then got the victory on stage 11 at Peña Cabarga, the very same mountain where he got his first-ever Grand Tour stage win in 2011, and put himself into second overall just under a minute behind race leader Nairo Quintana.
A series of early attacks by Quntana and Alberto Contador on stage 15 to Aramon Formigal blew the race apart, causing Froome to be isolated from his teammates and to lose more than 2 and a half minutes on his rival. He gained most of that time back on the stage 19 time trial to Calp with a dominant performance, but was unable to make up the difference in the penultimate stage, finishing second overall in the end by just 1:23 behind Quintana. It was Froome's second Grand Tour podium following his win at the Tour de France, and just coming off of winning the bronze medal in the time trial at the Olympic Games in Rio.
In August 2016 the news broke that the team had signed Olympic Team Pursuit champion, Owain Doull from WIGGINS and Tao Geoghegan Hart from Axeon–Hagens Berman Later, in the same month, the team confirmed their third signing of the season – Polish rider Łukasz Wiśniowski from Etixx–Quick-Step. For the 2017 season Nicolas Roche will leave for BMC Racing Team, as well as Andy Fenn, Lars Petter Nordhaug (both to new Irish team Aqua Blue Sport) and Leopold König (to Bora–Hansgrohe). Luke Rowe, Chris Froome, Christian Knees, Salvatore Puccio and Geraint Thomas have renewed with the team. In September the team announced the signing of Kenny Elissonde from Groupama–FDJ on a two-year deal. On 30 September, Wout Poels signed a three-year contract extension with the team. Elia Viviani signed a new 2-year deal on 26 October. The team announced on 27 October that it had signed Diego Rosa from Astana on a 3-year deal, and on 8 November announced the signing of Doull's WIGGINS teammate Jonathan Dibben.
The team finished the 2016 season 3rd overall in the UCI World Tour team rankings, with Froome as its highest-ranked rider, finishing 3rd overall in the individual rider ranking.
2017: The Grand Tour double and Milan-San Remo
Sky started the 2017 season with three stage wins at the Herald Sun Tour as well as winning the teams classification, with new team member Kenny Elissonde finishing on the podium in 3rd place and Chris Froome finishing sixth overall. The team's first race win of the season came at Strade Bianche when Michał Kwiatkowski took a solo victory after attacking 15 kilometers from the finish. Geraint Thomas took a stage win at Tirreno-Adriatico and held the leader's jersey for one day, also taking the overall victory and one stage win at the Tour of the Alps. Sky won Paris-Nice for the fifth time in sixth years courtesy of Sergio Henao, who won the race overall by just two seconds over Alberto Contador. Kwiatkowski added to Sky's win total by winning Milan-San Remo in a three-up sprint, giving the team its second Monument win. Neo-pro Jonathan Dibben won the individual time trial stage at the Tour of California, the team also winning the team classification with Tao Geoghegan Hart and Ian Boswell placing in the final top ten overall.
Thomas and Mikel Landa were appointed the team's joint leaders for the Giro d'Italia. At one point in the race, Thomas was sitting second in the general classification, however on the 9th stage to Blockhaus a fair chunk of the peloton was involved in a crash involving a stopped motorbike, which took down Thomas, Landa and most of the other members of the team. Thomas attempted a comeback after placing second in the following day's time trial, but the extent of his injuries were as such that he abandoned the race prior to stage 11. Landa continued as sole leader, taking several top-3 finishes on several mountain stages before finally winning stage 19 to Piancavallo. He went on to win the mountains classification and the super-combativity prize, also winning the Cima Coppi for being the first to cross the summit of the Stelvio Pass on stage 16. The team then participated in the inaugural Hammer Series, a three-day event pitting teams against each other in various skills competitions. Impressive performances by Tao Geoghegan Hart in the climbing event and Elia Viviani in the sprint event gave the team enough points to take the overall lead. In the team time trial-style Chase event, they held on by one second over Team Sunweb to win the entire competition. Froome returned to action at the Critérium du Dauphiné and finished fourth overall, just one second off the podium. Teammate Peter Kennaugh won the penultimate stage at Alpe d'Huez.
The team then went into the Tour de France with yet another strong lineup and the goal to help Froome achieve his fourth overall victory. In the opening prologue stage in Düsseldorf the team placed four riders within the top eight led by Geraint Thomas, who became the first Welsh rider to wear the yellow jersey. He was followed by Vasil Kiryienka in third, Froome in 6th and Kwiatkowski in eighth – Froome putting between 35 seconds and nearly a minute into most of his general classification rivals. On stage five to La Planche des Belles Filles, Froome took third place behind stage winner Fabio Aru, moving him into yellow and Thomas to second place. The 1-2 placing on GC held until stage nine to Chambéry, when Thomas was involved in a crash on the descent of the
Col de la Biche and had to abandon the race with a fractured collarbone. On stage 12 to Peyragudes, Froome cracked within the final kilometer, ceding 22 seconds and the yellow jersey to Aru. On the final approach on stage 14 to Rodez the team stretched out the peloton, splitting it into several groups due to crosswinds allowing Froome to put 25 seconds into Aru, enough to retake yellow by a margin of 18 seconds overall. On stage 15 to Le Puy-en-Velay, Froome ran into mechanical trouble on the ascent of the Col de Peyra Taillade and was distanced by more than 40 seconds thanks to a brutal acceleration by the AG2R La Mondiale team, but with the help of his teammates he managed to make it back to the main group of GC contenders to keep his overall lead intact. Froome and Landa performed strongly in the Alpine stages to Serre Chevalier and Izoard helping Landa move into fourth overall. In the final time trial in Marseille, Froome's strength in the discipline helped him put nearly two minutes into Romain Bardet and 25 seconds into Rigoberto Urán, finishing third on the stage six seconds behind stage winner Maciej Bodnar and 5 seconds behind second-place Kwiatkowski. Froome secured his fourth Tour victory and third consecutively, putting him one win away from joining the likes of Anquétil, Indurain, Merckx and Hinault. He also became the 7th man to win the Tour overall without winning a stage, however he did amass ten top-ten finishes. Sky also won the team classification for the first time in their history, leading from start to finish.
A week after the end of the Tour de France, Kwiatkowski continued his strong rides in the one-day classics by winning the Clásica de San Sebastián, and on 8 August signed a three-year contract extension. After months of recovery following his injury, Wout Poels returned to form by winning the final stage of the Tour de Pologne and finishing third overall, with teammate Diego Rosa taking the mountains classification. Landa followed up his performance in the Tour with overall victory in the Vuelta a Burgos, also winning two stages, the mountains classification and the points classification.
The team sent its strongest-ever squad to the Vuelta a España, with Froome on a mission to finally win the race that had eluded him on multiple occasions. After a 4th-place finish in the opening team time trial in Nîmes, Froome took third place on the third stage at Andorra behind Vincenzo Nibali. Combined with bonus seconds picked up from the stage's intermediate sprint, it was enough to move him into the overall race lead, collecting his first red jersey since stage 10 in 2011. Several days later, he took his first stage win of his season at Cumbre del Sol, which also moved him into the lead in the points classification, followed by a second-place finish at Calar Alto on stage 11. The following day to Antequera, Froome crashed twice after a mechanical, but managed to limit his time losses with the help of his teammates and bounced back on the next 3 stages with consecutive top-10 finishes and regained the points lead after stage 15. Froome then dominated the stage 16 individual time trial to Logroño, extending his lead to nearly 2 minutes ahead of Nibali. However, he struggled on the steep slopes to Los Machucos the next day, dropping about 40 seconds to Nibali. He regained half that loss on stage 18, and cemented the overall lead as well as the combination classification with a third-place finish at Alto de l'Angliru behind Alberto Contador on stage 20. In a bunch sprint finish on the final stage in Madrid, he held on to the points classification by two points over Matteo Trentin. With the victory, Froome became the first British rider to win the Vuelta, the third man to complete the Tour-Vuelta double in the same year (joining Jacques Anquetil and Bernard Hinault), and the first to complete the feat in the modern era since the Vuelta moved to its current August–September time period. A week after the Vuelta victory, the team won the bronze medal in the team time trial at the 2017 UCI Road World Championships in Bergen.
On 30 June, the eve of the Tour de France Grand Départ, Froome signed a 2-year contract extension with the team. The team announced the signings of Jonathan Castroviejo (Movistar Team) and David de la Cruz (Quick-Step Floors) for the 2018 season. On 27 August 2017, the team also announced the signing of 2017 Tour de l'Avenir winner Egan Bernal (Androni–Sidermec–Bottecchia). A day later, they announced the signings of reigning Under 23 Road Race World Champion Kristoffer Halvorsen (Joker Icopal) and 2017 Girobio overall winner Pavel Sivakov (BMC Development Team), Then on 1 September, it was revealed that 2017 British Under-23 road race champion Chris Lawless had also been signed from Axeon–Hagens Berman. Dylan van Baarle (Cannondale–Drapac) was signed on 18 September 2017. On 5 December 2017, the team announced that they had signed Leonardo Basso, a stagaire with Trek–Segafredo. Whilst Mikel Landa transferred to Movistar, Mikel Nieve to Mitchelton–Scott, Peter Kennaugh to Bora–Hansgrohe and Ian Boswell to Team Katusha–Alpecin. Elia Viviani ended his contract a year early to join QuickStep for the 2018 and 2019 seasons. Christian Knees, Michal Golas, Sebastian Henao, Phil Deignan, David Lopez and Ian Stannard all signed multi-year contract extensions.
The team finished the 2017 season on top of the UCI World Tour team ranking for the first time since 2012. Chris Froome was the highest-ranked rider in the individual rankings, placing second.
2018: Grand Tour domination
The team's first victory of the year came via highly regarded new recruit, Egan Bernal claiming victory in the Colombian national time trial championships. Team mate Sergio Henao would also claim victory in the national road race championships leading to a clean sweep of national titles. Bernal continued his strong early season form, claiming overall victory at the Colombia Oro y Paz. As the European stage racing season kicked-off Wout Poels and David de la Cruz claimed victories at Vuelta a Andalucía. Michal Kwiatkowski and Geraint Thomas claimed a one–two victory at Volta ao Algarve. Poels and de la Cruz continued their strong form, claiming stage victories at Paris–Nice, whilst Kwiatkowski claimed a second overall general classification victory, winning Tirreno–Adriatico – the teams first victory at the race.
In the lead up to the first Grand Tour of the year, the 2018 Giro d'Italia, Diego Rosa emerged victorious at Settimana Internazionale Coppi e Bartali, claiming his first overall win for the team. New recruits; Chris Lawless and Pavel Sivakov also claimed their first classification victories for the team, with Lawless also winning a stage of the race. Bernal had been en route to claim second place at his first World Tour event of the year, Volta a Catalunya, however a late crash on the final stage of the race saw Bernal abandon. Bernal would next race at the Tour de Romandie where he would win the stage three time trial and with it, the young rider classification. Moving on to the 2018 Tour of California, Bernal would lead the team's general classification ambitions, resulting in his first World Tour stage race victory, claiming two stages as well.
Chris Froome would enter the Giro d'Italia as favourite to win the overall race. As the current champion of both the Tour de France and Vuelta a España, Froome had the opportunity to join an elite group of riders who concurrently held all Grand Tour titles. The Giro started in Israel for the first time and before the race had begun Froome had already crashed during a recon of the first stage time trial route. Froome would cede over 30 seconds to main race rival, Tom Dumoulin as well as 20 seconds to Simon Yates. As the race returned to Italian land, Froome found himself over 50 seconds down on the maglia rosa – Rohan Dennis. By the end of stage six, the races first summit finish at the top of Mount Etna Froome had moved up to eighth position overall, but had lost over a minute to new race leader, Yates. By the end of the eighth stage and third mountain-top finish at Gran Sasso d'Italia, Froome trailed Yates by nearly two and a half minutes, with general classification hopes looking all but impossible. Froome's domestiques, Poels and Sergio Henao, were 18th and 25th overall 3' 14" and 5' 56" behind the race leader. By the end of stage 13, Froome had slipped back to 12th overall 3' 20" behind race leader, Yates. Stage 14 would see the riders face the fearsome climb of Monte Zoncolan, with gradients reaching nearly 20%. Froome attacked the main selection of favourites, winning the stage from Yates. Unfortunately however, Froome's improved form would not be maintained into stage 15, with Yates claiming the victory on the medium-mountain stage by a margin of 41 seconds over everyone race. Yates' lead in the race would now grow to 2' 11" over Dumoulin and 4' 52" over Froome – who was now sat in seventh place overall. The time trial on stage 16, from Trento to Rovereto, had been a focus-point for Froome, hoping to claw back significant amounts of time over Yates' by virtue of his stronger time-trialling ability. Froome would cut the deficit to 3' 50" by the end of the stage, having taken back over a minute from Yates. Deep into the third week of the race, stage 18 would see the first sign of weakness from Yates, cracking on the final climb of the day to Prato Nevoso, with the deficit to Dumoulin in second cut to 28 seconds and 3' 22" to Frooome. Stage 19 of the 2018-edition of the race had been designated as the races' queen stage, starting in Venaria Reale, the stage would climb over a trio of mountains; the part-gravel Colle delle Finestre, climb to Sestriere ending at Bardonecchia. Yates' poor form continued into stage 19, culminating in him being dropped by the peloton on the lower slopes of the Finestre, promoting Domoulin to virtual race leader. With over 80 kilometres remaining in the stage Froome attacked the peloton on the gravel section of the Finestre, pulling away from the main group of favourites. This attack would continue over the subsequent two climbs with Froome ultimately winning the stage by three minutes from second place Richard Carapaz, but importantly by over 3' 20" from Dumoulin. Froome was now leading the race overall by 40 seconds from Dumoulin with two stages remaining. Froome would maintain his race lead, becoming the fifth rider to simultaneously hold all three grand tour titles. Froome also won the mountains classification largely due to his stage 19 exploits, and Team Sky won the overall team classification.
As the cycling season entered the European summer, the build to the 2018 Tour de France had begun. Geraint Thomas claimed overall victory at the Critérium du Dauphiné improving his chances of being promoted to team-leader for the Tour de France. The team would go on to score a number of national title victories: Jonathan Castroviejo won the Spanish time trial title, Kwiatkowski the Polish road race, Dylan van Baarle the Dutch time trial, Thomas the British time trial and Vasil Kiryienka the Belarusian time trial.
As the Tour de France began, the team lead with a two-pronged attack, incumbent champion Froome hoping for a fourth straight grand tour win and fifth overall title and Thomas reigning Dauphiné champion and super-domestique in previous editions of the race. By the end of the first week of racing Thomas had rode a flawless race and was second overall, only six seconds behind Greg Van Avermaet. Froome on the other hand was 14th, over a minute behind the Belgian race leader. Thomas and Froome both lost time to Van Avermaet on stage nine as the race transitioned across the cobbles of Roubaix, with Thomas 43 seconds and Froome 1' 42" behind the race leader. By the end of stage 10 these deficits had grown to 2' 22 for Thomas and 3' 21" for Froome. As the race entered the Alps Thomas would cement his control on the race and the team, claiming consecutive victories at the summit finishes of La Rosière and Alpe d'Huez. By the end of stage 12 Thomas lead had grown to 1' 39" over team-mate Froome. Colombian prodigy, Bernal, in his first grand tour of his career was 19th overall 21' 22" behind Thomas. Following the 15th stage, controversy arouse around Gianni Moscon, who had been seen punching Fortuneo–Samsic rider Élie Gesbert during the opening kilometres of the stage. After reviewing footage of the incident, the race jury disqualified him for 'particularly serious aggression', leaving Sky with 7 riders for the remaining stages. On stage 17 Froome cracked, slipping to third overall 2' 31" behind Thomas. This promoted Giro d'Italia runner-up, Tom Dumoulin, to second overall 1' 59" behind Welshman Thomas. Thomas would ultimately win the race overall, and the team would record their fourth consecutive grand tour win, fifth Tour de France title and second successive year achieving more than one grand tour win. Thanks to his second-place performance on the penultimate day time trial, Froome joined Thomas on the final podium finishing third overall.
Into the latter part of the season, Kwiatkowski would maintain his good form from the Tour de France, winning his home stage race – the Tour de Pologne, claiming two stage wins. He would head into the final grand tour of the year, the Vuelta a España, as the team's general classification leader but would finish 43rd overall, nearly an hour and three quarters behind race winner, Simon Yates. The teams best finisher was de la Cruz, 15th overall and 28 minutes behind the race winner. The team would go onto claim two stage wins at the Tour of Britain courtesy of Poels and Ian Stannard. Gianni Moscon returned after a five-week suspension in good form as the road to the final monument of the year began, winning Coppa Agostoni and the Giro della Toscana, as well as the Italian national time trial title. Moscon would go onto take overall victory at the 2018 Tour of Guangxi – the team's final victory of the year.
In mid-December 2018, Sky announced they would withdraw their sponsorship as part of an ongoing review brought on by their acquisition by Comcast. 21st Century Fox also announced that it would end its partnership at the end of the season, forcing the team into a sponsorship search in order to continue. In February 2019, Cyclingnews.com reported that potential sponsorship could be sourced via a combination of the Colombian government and state-controlled oil and gas company, Ecopetrol. Later reports claimed that no deal had been forthcoming. In mid-March, Cyclingnews.com again broke news that another potential sponsor had been found. The report linked the team with British-based multi-national chemical company, Ineos, with the team expected to become Team Ineos for the 2020 season. Ineos is controlled by Manchester-born billionaire, Jim Ratcliffe, who has amassed an estimated fortune of over £21 billion. Ratcliffe has also invested over £100 million in Ben Ainslie's sailing team. The web-domain "TeamIneos.com" was discovered to have been registered on 5 March, and the handle "@teamineos" was also registered. On 19 March, Team Sky confirmed its new title sponsor, announcing it was to be renamed 'Team Ineos' on 1 May, ahead of the 2019 Tour de Yorkshire. However, the UCI's rules prevent teams from racing under different names at the same time – Sky had planned to take part in the 2019 Tour de Romandie, starting on 30 April as well as the Tour de Yorkshire. As a consequence, it announced that the Romandie would be the first race under the Ineos name, with the team wearing a special black kit, while the Yorkshire would see the launch of the team's new colours.
For the 2019 season the team signed world individual pursuit champion, Filippo Ganna and former rider, Ben Swift (UAE Team Emirates); former Ecuadorian national road champion, Jhonatan Narváez (Quick-Step Floors). After a protracted transfer the team also signed Colombian talent – Ivan Sosa (Androni Giocattoli–Sidermec). Philip Deignan and David López retired, Sergio Henao left to join UAE Team Emirates, Beñat Intxausti joined Euskadi–Murias and Łukasz Wiśniowski joined the newly Polish-sponsored BMC team, CCC Pro Team. Jonathan Dibben also left the team.