Jim Ratcliffe’s chemicals giant Ineos has bought Britain’s most successful road cycling team in recent years, Team Sky.
The industrial firm, owned by Britain’s richest man Ratcliffe, will rename the cycling organisation Team Ineos when it takes over on 1 May.
Tour Racing Limited, the holding company which owns Team Sky, had been looking for a buyer to secure its future after Sky said in december it would end its 10-year agreement at the end of 2019.
In that time, Team Sky have won eight Grand Tours and six Tour de Frances, the most prestigious annual competition in road cycling.
The cycling team said Ineos would “continue to fund the current team in full, honouring all existing commitments to riders, staff and partners”.
Ratcliffe, who is worth £21bn, said: “Cycling is a great endurance and tactical sport that is gaining ever more popularity around the world. Equally, cycling continues to mushroom for the general public as it is seen to be good for fitness and health, together with easing congestion and pollution in city environments. Ineos is delighted to take on the responsibility of running such a professional team.”
Dave Brailsford, principal at Team Sky who is widely seen as the mastermind behind British cycling’s sustained period of global dominance, said the announcement “ends the uncertainty around the team”.
He said the speed with which the deal had gone through “represents a huge vote of confidence in our future”.
“In Sir Jim Ratcliffe and Ineos, I know that we have found the right partner whose vision, passion and pioneering spirit can lead us to even greater success on and off the bike. It heralds the start of a hugely exciting new chapter for us all as Team INEOS”
Financial details were not disclosed.