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Cycling Weekly
Tom Thewlis

'It was time to change': No regrets for Rod Ellingworth after leaving Ineos Grenadiers

Rod Ellingworth.

Rod Ellingworth has no regrets after resigning as deputy team principal at Ineos Grenadiers last year. 

After quitting his role with the WorldTour giants in November, the 51-year-old received job offers from other cycling teams but recently accepted an offer from British Cycling to become race director for both the Tour of Britain Men and Women

In an interview with Cycling Weekly and others in Manchester, Ellingworth explained that he had felt for some time that a career change could be beneficial to him after feeling concerned about becoming trapped in his previous role. 

"I resigned, I just decided that it was time for me to finish," Ellingworth said. "There were a few things that I wasn’t totally in agreement with and then I felt like life was catching up with me a little bit. My kids are getting older and there are different pressures with that, so then I just thought perhaps it was time to change. Fortunately I’m now in a situation where I got change."

As well as two stints with Ineos, he also worked in a similar capacity at the Bahrain Victorious team.

"I’d been speaking to other teams about going to work with them but it wasn't quite as exciting as doing this now to be honest," he added. "I just needed something new, to do something a bit different and something that was going to challenge me in a different way."

Often touted as the natural successor to Sir Dave Brailsford at the top of the Ineos Grenadiers pyramid, Ellingworth explained that he had begun to feel that his future lay elsewhere within the sport. He did not expand on the issues he said he did not agree with. 

"I think Dave perhaps thought I was going to do that fully," he said. "There were no issues at all, I just thought personally that it was time for me to change, that was it. I was thinking about it at times last year but I hadn’t planned too far ahead... I was just sort of taking things as they come really. 

"I just felt like I was at a point in my life where if I didn’t make a change when I did, I was possibly going to get trapped if you like."

(Image credit: Getty Images)

"I haven't looked back," he added, suggesting that he did not regret his decision to resign. "I really enjoyed my time there and everything that I’d done. Maybe I'll go back at some point and do something, I don’t know. I’m just rolling with it now to be honest, this opportunity came up [at British Cycling] and it was quite exciting for me, so it was interesting to get involved, that was it."

Ellingworth’s resignation was swiftly followed up by a staffing restructure across the team which saw John Allert move into the position of CEO, Dr Scott Drawer appointed as head of performance, and Steve Cummings promoted to head of racing. 

Brailsford still has a foothold in cycling as part of his role within the wider Ineos sport group but is now taking an active role on the board of Manchester United Football Club. This comes after Ineos officially acquired a stake in the Premier League team in February. 

"I think it’s brilliant," Ellingworth said of Brailsford’s increased involvement with football. "I encouraged him as obviously I was around him a fair bit while this was all happening and getting planned. I do think that if anybody can do it, he can to be honest. We’ve messaged a few times about it, yeah."

"If you had asked me ten years ago I would have said he would go and do something like this as he's always chatting about football. He’s always been involved with people in football and was always inviting ex players and managers into the team for things. 

"Dave is very well connected in that area so I would have put a lot of money on it a while back that he would have gone into football so I'm not at all surprised."

(Image credit: Getty Images)

Now in the process of bedding into his new role back at British Cycling, Ellingworth joked that he would be drawing on his vast experience across the WorldTour to borrow ideas regarding race organisation from elsewhere. 

"Massively," he said. "I’ll be nicking ideas from left, right and centre to put into this, why not. If you talk about favourite races, my favourite race to do has always been the Giro. I love the Giro, I thought that was a brilliant race to be on and to work on. It had a certain fluidity to its negotiations and a very Italian feel to it if you like. 

"Then you go to the Tour and it operates like clockwork. So I do feel a bit like we’re in a fantastic situation where we can look at all the different races and organisations and think about what we might need and it's up to us now to put that together."

Despite seeing Brailsford jump into a different sport, Ellingworth said that he wouldn’t consider following suit in the future. 

"I don't think I would want the hassle," he said. "I’ve been really fortunate in my own time of working with different sports and people in cycling, certainly through the Ineos sports concept with Ben Ainslie in sailing, with OGC Nice, we’ve done lots of things with various sports groups and I’ve always enjoyed it actually. 

"I’m always open to it and actually the other year, Welsh rugby came to see me and spent a few days with us at the Tour. It’s great and really interesting to do that but no, I'm not looking for something outside of this."

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