By Carlos de Torres
Sports Desk, May 21 (EFE).- Colombian cyclist Egan Bernal, 24, won the 2019 Tour de France wearing Sky, the UK-based media giant, plastered on his jersey, but he changed out the following year to display Ineos Grenadiers across his chest, racing for a fossil fuel behemoth chaired by Jim Ratcliffe, who sits atop a $90 billion business.
Ratcliffe, a 68-year old petrochemical engineer and the UK’s richest man, has a personal net worth of $17.5 billion, according to Forbes. He was appointed Knight Bachelor in 2018.
The billionaire owns two thirds of the petrochemicals company Ineos, which is headquartered in Switzerland.
Newly arrived in the cycling industry in 2020, he spent 53 million euros on the new Ineos Grenadiers team, a figure unmatched by others, allowing him to sign with the star shooting ahead of the peloton.
That star was Egan Bernal, team leader boasting one of the highest salaries in the sport, at roughly 3 million euros per season.
Cycling is not Ratcliffe’s only sports venture. Ineos is the principal partner of the Mercedes F1 Team, and has its own yacht crew representing the UK in America’s Cup 2021.
In football, he owns OGC Nice, into which he injected 50 million euros, as well as Swiss club Lausanne Sports. He dreams of buying Chelsea.
The latest short-term goal is to launch his very own Ineos Grenadiers 4×4 off-roader vehicle, expected to release in 2022.
The image of Egan Bernal works like a charm to smooth out controversial aspects of the fossil fuel industry, notably its environmental damage.