Grantham’s Rod Ellingworth was once again integral to another British rider wearing the yellow jersey into Paris in the Tour de France at the weekend.
Following on from last year’s stunning win by Bradley Wiggins – the first British cyclist to do so in the Tour’s 99-year history – team-mate Chris Froome dominated this year’s race to give Team Sky and Great Britain a second successive victory.
Forty-year-old Rod, an honorary life member of Witham Wheelers, has been with Team Sky since it was founded and this year was promoted to performance manager, a senior role overseeing the management of sports directors and race coaches.
Froome first came to GB coach Rod’s attention when he picked up a stage win in the 2007 Giro della Regione race in Italy.
The pair stayed in contact and within three years Froome was signed up for both Team Sky and Team GB.
Rod’s father Jeff said his son and the whole team were “obviously over the moon” with the second Tour triumph.
Jeff said: “Rod knew Chris Froome before he got signed up for Sky. He’s known him a long, long time.”
Jeff said that Rod was still working for British Cycling and would once again be running the World Road Race Championship team, hoping for a repeat of the 2011 race when GB dominated to give Mark Cavendish the chance to sprint for the coveted rainbow jersey.
Rod’s previous work with the British Cycling Olympic Academy brought to fruition Froome’s current Team Sky team-mates Geraint Thomas, Peter Kennaugh and Ian Stannard – not to mention multi-Tour stage-winning sprinter Cavendish who currently rides for Omega Pharma-Quick Step.
Rod was clearly visible on television as Team Sky celebrated Froome’s win on the Champs Elysses in Paris on Sunday.
He was interviewed on ITV4 earlier in the week after Froome’s sensational Stage 17 mountain time trial victory, in which he eclipsed former Tour winner Alberto Contador by 8.82 seconds.
Rod was instrumental in the team’s plan for Froome to change bikes mid-stage to facilitate a faster run in to the finish on a dedicated time trial machine.
Father Jeff said that one of Rod’s responsibilities was to reconnoitre stages ahead of the peloton and to relay the information to the team’s “directeur sportif” who speaks directly with the riders.
Rod outlines his current role on the Team Sky website: “It’s a post that involves overseeing the race programmes, training camps and external commitments to ensure we produce the best possible performances on the road.
“I still retain the group of riders I coach on a day-to-day basis and I’ll be on the road throughout the season working closely with the rest of the performance team to ensure we give our riders the very best chance of success.”