An announcement is expected on Wednesday that it will be renamed Team Ineos after the 66-year-old billionaire’s petrochemical company. It will mean the team can keep star riders such as Chris Froome and Geraint Thomas.
There were concerns the outfit would struggle to find as rich a backer as Sky, with the highest budget in the peloton at £34million a year. But it is now thought that Team Ineos will have an increased budget going forward.
Ratcliffe has already got behind British sporting endeavours, having put forward £110m as Sir Ben Ainslie bids to win the America’s Cup for Britain for the first time in the sailing event’s history.
Sky announced in December it was ending its partnership with the team, casting doubts over the likes of Froome and Thomas, who boast multi-million-pound contracts to 2020 and 2023 respectively. But team boss Sir Dave Brailsford, along with Sky board members, have been working for the past three months to find their new backer.
Asked about the possible takeover, Tour de France winner Thomas said: “We are in the best position to [find a backer] — we are one of the best sports teams around, so you’d hope we could find something. I heard there is a lot of interest but I’m just concentrating on racing and we’ll let Dave sort that out.”