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Team Ineos’s Budget

The rare chance to look at the budget of a World Tour team and once again a record budget from the British team. Only don’t get too excited, the takeover by Ineos seems to have brought a change as only a thin set of accounts has been filed with just the headline numbers so this is a quick blog post.

€50.785 million, that’s the headline number for the year ending December 2019 as the screengrab, cropped from the latest set of accounts from Tour Racing Limited, the legal entity behind the team, shows. It’s up about 18% on the previous year.

2019 was when Sky switched to Ineos mid-season and the accounts now report in Euros, previously they were in British Pounds. Why Euros? Because the team is now owned by Ineos Industries Limited and this parent company reports in Euros. It’s handy too as the Euro is the currency of pro cycling, but it’s down to the parent company. This currency switch explains the use of the “restatement” references in the accounts, the accounts use an exchange rate of £1=€1.13.

The 2019 budget of €50.785 million is an 18% increase on the previous year. Here’s the customary chart of the team’s budget over the years, only this time expressed in Euros, the year-ending number in Pounds converted at the prevailing exchange rate:

As well as changing to Euros, following the sale to Ineos another small difference is that there’s now only the bare minimum disclosure. Previous years included detail on the mix of income from sponsors, race organisers and others; or the split between wages and other expenses like travel, but now there’s little detail. So there’s not much more to blog about, as ever this is a cycling team so there are few assets to speak of, things like the team bus have been depreciated away in the accounts too and as the team exists as a structure to run the team and pay riders it doesn’t turn a profit.

We can note the relentless rise in the team budget, 2019 wasn’t a year of big incoming signings, it was more about the re-signings, it was the year that followed Geraint Thomas’s Tour win and his contract extension and revaluation, plus Egan Bernal was given a giant raise and a long deal too. At €50.7 million for 2019 it’s more than Ag2r La Mondiale (€16.6m), Groupama-FDJ (€19.1m) and Cofidis (€11.8 million) combined that year too. Comparing Ineos to the trio of French teams does make a point in itself but it’s also because these four are among the few World Tour squads to publish accounts, giving us official, audited budget data. Beware of estimations floating around on the internet because when you see the numbers are off for teams that make their budget a matter of public record then presumably the rest baloney too.

  • Accounts available online at companieshouse.gov.uk
  • Exchange rates at 31 December 2019: £1 GBP = US$ 1.32 = €1.18

Comments on this entry are closed.

  • J Evans Wednesday, 7 October 2020, 10:29 am

    It doesn’t matter who the team is – Ineos, JV, the next one – if we want the TdF (and sometimes other grand tours – this year’s Vuelta, I strongly suspect) not to feature one (or more) team strangling the race at the front, making the success of any attacks impossible then cycling needs to instigate an overall budget cap – either by team (probably best), or by race.

    At present, the rich minority can stuff their teams full of domestiques who are good enough to be team leaders. With those riders not having to ride every climb in full, they can ride at a pace that no-one can attack successfully from. And we get to watch a long train of nothing happening on mountain stages – see this year’s TdF (and many previously this decade, other than 2019).

    If teams can’t buy all those riders the team leaders will have to fight for themselves more, long-range attacks will be more viable, it will be man against man on the big climbs, and those riders who would have been uber-domestiques on a wealthy team will instead be riding for the win, so we’d get to see more riders competing with each other.

    It’s been done in other sports. It won’t be perfect – people will cheat – but it’ll be better than what we have now.

    To those who say that money makes sport better, ask anyone who has been watching the sport prior to 2010. The Indurain and Armstrong years weren’t always so fascinating, to say the least, but they were nowhere near as tedious as the Sky/JV TdFs. At least MI and LA had to compete alone for a number of kilometres of a final climb. I think the GC contenders only actually raced each other for longer than the final 1km on one stage in this year’s TdF.

    Also ask yourself if Froome’s 2018 Giro long-range race-winning attack would have been at all possible against JV in this year’s TdF.

    The train is very successful, and therefore is not going away, regardless of how teams change. The formula has been set. In many sports over the years rules have been changed in order to alter something that has become dull (and even something that has become overly dominant).

    • B Waardenburg Wednesday, 7 October 2020, 11:40 am

      The thing is that those mountain trains are just a really valid tactic. Money is not a primary motivator for it, although it does help to attract solid domestiques. The only thing we can wish for is those mountain trains not taking the big prize like this year.

      Jumbo Visma is not a team with a big budget compared to the other teams, they just have a strong squad with riders willing to pilot the mountain train. See: https://www.cyclingweekly.com/news/racing/jumbo-visma-jump-team-rich-list-budget-increase-ahead-2020-season-442483

    • Michov Wednesday, 7 October 2020, 11:42 am

      Except that JV’s budget isn’t notably higher than FDJs. And Ineos with twice that isn’t able to control much. It’s at least as much about what you do with the money.

    • J Evans Wednesday, 7 October 2020, 11:46 am

      I don’t know what JV’s budget is, but I’ll quote the Inner Ring above: ‘Beware of estimations floating around on the internet because when you see the numbers are off for teams that make their budget a matter of public record then presumably the rest baloney too.’

      If their riders currently are not too expensive (which seems very unlikely at least for Roglic and Dumoulin, and hard to believe for a few others) they will be soon enough after how they performed in the TdF.

      • The Inner Ring Wednesday, 7 October 2020, 12:30 pm

        Budget does correlate with success but there are other factors, tax for a start can mean the headline and the actual spend varies and there’s sheer luck, you can have a team that’s able to spare a Tour de France winner and direct them to the Giro instead but some random rider bounces on some old flagstones on a road, they lose their full water bottle which rolls along the road and your team leader hits it at just an unlucky angle and speed such their race is over.

        It’d be interesting if we could see more budgets and explore who does what, eg do teams go all in for GC success, target stages à la Sunweb, back a sprinter (even Ineos avoid most sprints) and so on. But it’d be complicated to compare team by team, just comparing headline budgets would miss all the different details from country to country etc.

        As mentioned above Jumbo-Visma have a decent budget but they’ve got decisions to take on re-signing riders, this Giro will give them more information as they can rate the likes of Harper, Foss etc and see if it’s worth letting older, more expensive riders move to other teams.

        • J Evans Wednesday, 7 October 2020, 12:37 pm

          Yes, any budget cap would have to be based on budgets after taxes, etc.

        • Anonymous Wednesday, 7 October 2020, 5:47 pm

          Does big budget lead to success or does success get rewarded by big budget? In any case budget hasn’t bought results this year so next year’s figures will be interesting.

    • RQS Wednesday, 7 October 2020, 12:35 pm

      I disagree about the Armstrong era at least. It was pretty tedious to see the Postal train strangle the opposition. They all doped to do exactly that and was one of the reasons why Armstrong was so successful against Ullrich and the others.

      Rarely did a rider actually attack Armstrong. Only on one or two occasions did riders capable of hurting Armstrong gain time on him. It was really depressing to watch.

      With Indurain it was always a calculation: how much time he could give up in the mountains, compared to how much he would take back with his ITT. It made the TTs more exciting because the equation was really a gamble, a roll of the dice as there was no way of knowing especially with the likes of Pantani, who I always suspected of doping, but could never prove.

      I suspect I have rose-tinted glasses, but the eighties were a better time for cycling. The battles there were more personally contested by the best riders. The domestiques seem to shrink away well before the final climb and riders needed to calculate their efforts to win, which meant the time gaps could vacillate widely – one day you win by five minutes, the next you drop twelve.

      • Steve Wednesday, 7 October 2020, 2:14 pm

        Agreed. Watching US Postal crush any opposition used to get me so aggrieved I would want to go on a murderous shooting spree. Maybe there’s an expression to describe such an action. It was only David Duffield’s astonishingly digressive commentaries that calmed me down.

        • Allegedly_Anthony Wednesday, 7 October 2020, 11:29 pm

          Yup. Before worked out he was doping (yes, I was slow, but the Simeoni thing was a dead giveaway) I hated LA for strangling the race so effectively. The only one of his “wins” worth watching gor me was the 2003 race when he looked beatable…
          As an aside, I suspect people would have been less keen to see doping in the Skineos setup if they hadn’t used the USPS tactic, but it works so reliably that they would have been idiots to take any other approach.

      • Jim Thursday, 8 October 2020, 12:30 am

        You leave out a couple of important points when looking through those glasses.
        First, with very rare exceptions, everyone racing in the Armstrong era was doped. Just look at the list of the top 10 riders from any of those years. How many were later popped or admitted to doping? The way Postal strangled the competition was no different from Sky/Ineos since 2012.
        I suspect you think Sky/Ineos dominance is okay?
        Regarding Indurain, do you REALLY think the man was clean?? If so, I have some swamp in Kansas you might like to buy. How often did he give up time in the mountains? It wasn’t very often.
        You only “suspected” Pantani of doping?? Yeah, many times a climber becomes a Tour class TT rider. Well, if you believed Indurain was clean, sure why not?

    • Bern Wednesday, 7 October 2020, 2:56 pm

      You reminded me (obliquely, sure) of another sporting rule change that I’ve been pondering in the last few days – Major League Baseball lowered the pitching mound in response to Bob Gibson’s dominance (Gibson died on the weekend so that’s why I remembered this). I was in awe of Gibson back then, and MLB’s knee-jerk response to his excellence was like a punch in the gut. Imagine changing the dimensions of the pitch because one player is just too good…well, that (or something like it) happens all the time in cycling. Get a dominant climber, add more TTs. A whizbang TTer who is an average climber may reasonably imagine next year’s tour will hit every damn HC finish in the country…

      I for one am not convinced that cash wins just because it’s cash. There’s more to any team than just the money. This is not to say that Sky/Ineos were/are not often dominant due in part to semi-monopoly caching of good riders, which can only be accomplished by throwing the money around, but c’mon – the TdF and an occasional other GT do not the season make for the tifosi. Other teams exploit that via other strategies.

    • brent sword Wednesday, 7 October 2020, 10:59 pm

      Other sports with successful budget caps have a higher income and all teams can generally make that budget.
      If you want to do that for cycling you are going to have to reduce the budgets (and salaries) to that of the lowest budget team.
      Ineos like postal before were so focused on the tour that they almost don’t care about the other races. If other teams had such a laser focus that would be more competitive but most teams prefer to spread there $ less focused.
      Considering the french tax system with income tax and then a massive welfare tax i can’t see how a french team could have long term success through buying talent. They have to get lucky with low cost choices for a year or 2.

      • J Evans Thursday, 8 October 2020, 3:07 pm

        ‘If you want to do that for cycling you are going to have to reduce the budgets (and salaries) to that of the lowest budget team.’
        Why would you have to do that? You could choose the average, or the median, or just the team in the middle, to give just three examples.
        And the top riders would still earn almost top wages: they would just do it at different teams. Ergo, the top riders would be more spread out and actually competing with each other.
        But for some people/fans, money seems a bigger issue than good sport.

    • CA Thursday, 8 October 2020, 4:33 pm

      Meh, people always have rose coloured glasses when looking back on previous racing generations. In reality, it is very difficult to make cycling exciting for the entire race, regardless of the era, doping levels, squads, etc.

      Most TdF’s of the past were settled by minutes, not seconds, and they included long ITT’s which everyone now complains about…

      Salary caps only work in sports with strong ownership groups that can work together to a) develop a cap system and b) get the athletes to agree to it. There is ZERO chance that these two conditions will work in cycling for the near future.

      We need to enjoy cycling for what it is, it is still by far the best sport to watch. Also, I think it is relatively clean now, potentially cleaner than other large international (or North American) sport leagues.

      • Anonymous Thursday, 8 October 2020, 6:24 pm
      • hoh Friday, 9 October 2020, 7:59 am

        Not to mention that salary cap is basically a demand side cartel for owners to rip off the athletes. Any idea why they are most prevalent in the US?

    • Richard S Friday, 9 October 2020, 12:06 am

      Armstrong was worse, far worse. Every Tour was more or less the same. Either he or his team would win an early TT, then he’d win the first stage in the Pyrenees, then the Alps, and another if there was a particular queen stage which he needed to win to assert his masculinity. He’d usually top it all off by winning the final TT too. I stopped watching after a while. He had top riders working for him, and top doctors, and the top dogs at the UCI. At least Froome usually limited himself to a stage or two and the win. It even seemed like Froome stopped trying to dominate when he realised how much it annoyed people. I‘m pretty sure he could’ve won more stages and beaten Uran by more than the 50 odd seconds that year. Mind you they stopped giving him time trials. Indurain is before my time but I can remember the year Ullrich smashed everyone to bits and won the first TT by 3 minutes. People would lose their minds now.

  • Looking over my shoulder Wednesday, 7 October 2020, 10:49 am

    The restatement of 2018 is interesting. It appears to relate to a change in how employees are paid.

    The liability has been settled and the income bumped up to match. I suspect that came out during the due diligence process for the takeover.

    I recall in the past the company was showing a very small number of employees. Perhaps the tax authorities did some employment status investigations?

    • The Inner Ring Wednesday, 7 October 2020, 10:56 am

      The 2019 accounts show 43 employees, compared to 45 for the previous year (normally not riders but managers, staff etc), 44 for 2017, 33 for 2016 and, earlier on this number was much, much lower, almost everyone was hired as a contractor, a service provider.

    • slippy bidon Wednesday, 7 October 2020, 12:03 pm

      I think the restatement is just to translate the earlier year’s comparative numbers into EUR for consistency. The 2018 accounts were all GBP so they’d need to be restated in EUR to be presented alongside the EUR denominated 2019 numbers- you can’t present a mix of currencies. I haven’t read the full doc in detail but I think that’s all it is.

      • The Inner Ring Wednesday, 7 October 2020, 12:10 pm

        That’s it, am going to amend the piece above.

        • Looking over my shoulder Wednesday, 7 October 2020, 12:15 pm

          See note 8 in the most recent accounts. A 3.6m EUR adjustment to the earlier year.

          • The Inner Ring Wednesday, 7 October 2020, 12:18 pm

            That’s in there but the restatement is for the currency change.

  • The Inner Ring Wednesday, 7 October 2020, 12:17 pm

    A note to say the piece above was amended:
    – the “restatement” is not fixing anything, it’s just to restate in Euros from Punds.
    – I’d used the year end exchange rate to start with but a helpful email pointed to the rate used in the accounts and we’ll go with that, so it’s an 18% increase in budget, not 21%.

    • RQS Wednesday, 7 October 2020, 12:38 pm

      I was going to ask if the statements in consecutive paragraphs were due to the amendment. They both appear in there at the time I was reading – had assumed this was the case.

  • BMT Wednesday, 7 October 2020, 4:22 pm

    How many riders did Ineos have in the top 10 at the TDF? How many are in contention at the Giro? How many stage victories?
    It just goes to show that even the best laid plans can fail. This year was the best TDF we’ve had since the Froome sky train made the TDF a bore to watch.

    • The Inner Ring Thursday, 8 October 2020, 6:37 pm

      If anything the surprise is Ineos aren’t winning more, a 20% jump in budget in one year means they’re pulling away from all the other teams in budget by some margin now but the results aren’t following in proportion although accidents and mishaps are proving their downfall, to some extent money can insure you against bad luck (if Froome crashed in 2019, up popped Bernal to win the Tour) but still.

    • Anonymous Thursday, 8 October 2020, 6:50 pm

      So you found the Sky train dull, but not the Jumbo train?

      Last year’s Tour didn’t have a dominant team, and was far more entertaining because of it. Until the final time trial, this year’s Tour had an overwhelmingly dominant team.

      • The Inner Ring Thursday, 8 October 2020, 9:31 pm

        The Jumbo-Visma train wasn’t as “boring” as it couldn’t control the race, they kept running out of riders late in the stage Roglič was often left to fend for himself and then he couldn’t ride off into sunset.

        • hoh Friday, 9 October 2020, 8:11 am

          Or conversely, Roglic wasn’t as strong as Froome, placing a higher demand on the train. If anything, JV train was stronger, with TD actually a GT winner.

          On A3, and St. Martin, Froome attacked 4-5 km out, before Porte was spent. On both occasions, Porte was 2nd on the stage, beating Movistar leaders.

          If Porte was riding Roglic, he’d have to maintain temple for another 4-5 km. not sure even Porte can do that.

  • BC Wednesday, 7 October 2020, 10:59 pm

    In peoples opinion there will always be one team better, smarter or faster than all the others.
    There will also inevitably always be one team with superior finance. Above or below board!
    The idea that you can make all teams equal by controlling finance is patiently absurd.
    The sport evolves on innovation, management, riders, tactics, science and technology.

    The Giro is presently illustrating many of these variables. And what an open and exciting race it is proving to be.

    • Anonymous Thursday, 8 October 2020, 6:51 pm

      You won’t make all teams equal. You’ll make teams less unequal. See other sports.

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