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Team Sky performance director Ellingworth to join Bahrain-Merida

Credit: PA

Team Sky performance director Rod Ellingworth will leave to join Bahrain-Merida from next season, ending a decade-long association with the British squad.

The 46-year-old former British Cycling coach has been with Team Sky - who will be relaunched as Team INEOS next month - since the team's formation in 2010, and has worked with riders such as Geraint Thomas and Mark Cavendish since their youth.

A Team Sky statement said Ellingworth told senior management of his decision earlier this season.

"He will remain with the team for the immediate future to ensure an amicable and smooth transition," the statement said.

"Everyone at the team thanks Rod for his immense service and contribution during his time with us."

The ambitious Bahrain-Merida squad went into partnership with McLaren at the start of the season, with the motorsports company expected to step up its involvement in the team in 2020.

Ellingworth has been a key part of five Tour de France victories with Team Sky, and was also the manager of British Cycling's men's elite road team until last year.

Froome suffers crash as Matthews wins stage two of Volta a Catalunya

Credit: PA

Chris Froome suffered a bruising day on the Volta a Catalunya as he was caught in a crash on stage two.

The four-time Tour de France winner hit the deck inside the last 40km of the 166.7km stage from Mataro to Sant Feliu De Guixols.

Though the Team Sky rider was quickly back on his bike, Froome rode on sporting some nasty road rash and bleeding from his right elbow, and did not attempt to chase back to the main group.

Instead, he finished in a group some 14 minutes behind Australian stage winner Michael Matthews of Team Sunweb.

Froome is competing in his first WorldTour race of the season, but was here to support team-mate and Paris-Nice winner Egan Bernal in the general classification while getting some miles in his legs after a slow start to the year.

Lotto-Soudal's Thomas De Gendt retained the race leader's white and green jersey following his breakaway victory on stage one, with his lead standing at two minutes 47 seconds over world champion Alejandro Valverde, with Bernal in seventh place a further 10 seconds down.

British quarter Simon and Adam Yates, Hugh Carthy and James Knox, as well as Irishman Dan Martin, are all two minutes and 58 seconds off the lead.

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Wiggins: Ratcliffe takeover of Team Sky 'ideal situation' for Brailsford

A takeover of Team Sky by Britain's richest man Jim Ratcliffe would be an Credit: PA

A takeover of Team Sky by Britain's richest man Jim Ratcliffe would be an "ideal situation" for key man Dave Brailsford, according to Bradley Wiggins.

Reports have suggested Ratcliffe, the founder and chairman of the Ineos chemicals company who has a £21billion fortune, will step in to replace Sky's sponsorship, with confirmation of a deal said to be imminent.

Ineos and Team Sky declined to comment when contacted by Press Association Sport.

Sky announced in December it would be ending its association with the team at the end of the year. The partnership has extended beyond 10 years, with the team securing eight Grand Tour victories during that period from the likes of Wiggins, Chris Froome and Geraint Thomas.

And Tour de France winner Wiggins believes a deal with Ratcliffe would benefit the team under the continuing leadership of general manager Brailsford.

"Dave will want to retain control and it is Dave's way in terms of the way he manages the team, the way he sets the team up," the Olympic gold medallist said in the first episode of the new series of The Bradley Wiggins Show by Eurosport.

"I think he would have been reluctant to have another multi-national company that came in that wanted it for the advertisement and to get their name out there, but would want the control in terms of 'This is how we want to do it in terms of how we advertise our company'.

"I think that would have been a big point for Dave. So in some ways it's an ideal situation.

"He (Ratcliffe) is the richest man in Britain and you would imagine that the kind of money they have asked for is nothing to him.

"Dave can continue running out this team with all his plans and philosophies, so it's an ideal situation for him and he is answerable you'd imagine to one man - it's his money. It will certainly help that team."

Swift rushed to hospital after training accident

Swift was out training with Tour de France winner Geraint Thomas. Credit: PA

Team Sky rider Ben Swift spent the night in intensive care in Tenerife following a crash while out training with Tour de France winner Geraint Thomas.

Swift's team said he clipped a rock on a descent, causing bleeding from the spleen which required immediate treatment.

The 31-year-old Yorkshireman also suffered multiple contusions and facial injuries, but no apparent fractures.

Late on Thursday, Swift wrote on Twitter: "Thanks for the well wishes. I am still in intensive care at the moment. But hopefully move onto a normal ward tomorrow.

"They have stopped the bleed in the spleen. But just need to keep monitoring it. Along with that I have facial wounds and road rash."

Team Sky doctor Inigo Sarriegu said in a statement: "Swifty suffered quite a heavy crash whilst out training.

"Thankfully though, he didn't lose consciousness and was aware of the incident afterwards.

"We will continue to monitor him over the coming days, but 24 hours on from the crash he is already feeling better."

Swift, who finished second in Milan-Sanremo in 2016 and fifth in the 2017 UCI Road World Championships, rejoined Team Sky this winter on a one-year deal after two seasons with UAE Team Emirates. He previously raced for the British squad from 2010 to 2016.

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Geoghegan Hart signs new deal with Team Sky

Geoghegan Hart has been with Team Sky for the most part of his pro career. Credit: AP

Tao Geoghegan Hart has signed a new deal with Team Sky that will see him remain with the team until the end of the 2020 season.

The 23-year-old rode his first Grand Tour earlier this year in La Vuelta a Espana. Elsewhere he claimed a top-five finish at the 2018 Tour of California as well as aiding Geraint Thomas' win in the Criterium du Dauphine back in June.

Speaking about the future, Geoghegan Hart told Team Sky's website: "I definitely want to try and target the Giro for 2019 and go there with everything I learned about Grand Tour racing at the Vuelta, but also the training and build-up to the race.

"Trying to get that right is key as it felt like I didn’t quite get as much from myself performance-wise as I’d hoped in Spain. It’s about continuing in the direction I’ve been going and to keep building forwards.”

Team Sky have been busy this summer after tying down Geraint Thomas until 2021 and bringing back Ben Swift for next season.

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