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Sir Ben Ainslie says it would be “crazy” for Ineos yachting and cycling teams not to learn from each other

Four-time Olyympic sailing champ's America's Cup challenge is being bankrolled by petrochemical firm...

Sir Ben Ainslie, who is leading the Ineos Team UK America’s Cup challenge, says it would be “crazy” not to explore how the yachting syndicate and the UCI WorldTour team now sponsored by the petrochemicals group could learn lessons from each other.

The four-time Olympic gold medallist sailor, writing in a column in the Sunday Telegraph, also spoke of Ineos founder and owner Sir Jim Ratcliffe’s management style, as well as insisting that the company is “part of the answer” to ocean pollution and wider environmental issues.

At the next America’s Cup in Auckland in 2021, pedal-power won’t feature following the outlawing of the controversial ‘pedalors’ that were used by Team New Zealand instead of the traditional hand-winched grinders to trim sails as they won the trophy in Bermuda in 2017.

> America’s Cup yachting team enlists Olympic cycling medallist in plan to pedal to victory

However, Ainslie said that talks were already underway with the cycling team run by Sir Dave Brailsford about the lessons the could learn from their respective sports.

“It is interesting, actually, being part of the larger family of Ineos sporting properties. No doubt there are potential synergies between all of us and it would be foolish not to explore them," the 42-year-old said.

"We have had discussions about it already. Team Sky – or Team INEOS as they are now – are the world's most successful cycling team. We are not arrogant enough to presume we have nothing to learn from them.

"Similarly, we have many brilliant engineers, tacticians and athletes and I am sure they can learn from us. No doubt we will be catching up and sharing ideas and strategies. We would both be crazy not to take that opportunity."

He said that Ratcliffe – Britain’s wealthiest man, although he has recently moved domicile to Monaaco – was a hands-off team owner.

“He backs us, but very much allows us to run the team as we see fit,” Ainslie explained. “Jim likes to win. He is massively competitive. He gives it everything, but he understands sport and the need for total preparation. We very much share that determination to be the best and, on a selfish note, I can see many intriguing possibilities for us as a result of this [Team Sky] takeover."

Team Ineos was officially launched at the start of the month on the eve of the Tour de Yorkshire, but during the race, where it won the overall through Chris Lawless, it was met with protests from anti-fracking campaigners.

The announcement earlier this year that Ratcliffe was buying Team Sky’s management company with Ineos taking over sponsorship was met with concern by environmental campaigners, with many pointing out that during the Tour de France last year Geraint Thomas, Chris Froome and their team-mates rode with jerseys promoting Sky Ocen Rescue, the broadcaster’s campaign to rid the world’s oceans of plastic waste.

"I totally get the criticism," said Ainslie. "We have never shied away from it. Especially in the wake of the Extinction Rebellion movement and the recent protests in London. It is a very hot topic right now, and rightly so.

"We care deeply about cleaning up our oceans, finding solutions to environmental threats. We are still absolutely committed to these issues.”

Defending Ineos and Ratcliffe, he continued: "What I would say, though, is that there are lots of valid concerns, but not many solutions.

"Ineos is one of the few companies with the resources and the reach to actually effect serious change. It is a major part of the answer.

"And I know first-hand, from the discussions we have had, that Jim and his team are very serious about it and have set themselves some pretty lofty targets," he added.

Simon joined road.cc as news editor in 2009 and is now the site’s community editor, acting as a link between the team producing the content and our readers. A law and languages graduate, published translator and former retail analyst, he has reported on issues as diverse as cycling-related court cases, anti-doping investigations, the latest developments in the bike industry and the sport’s biggest races. Now back in London full-time after 15 years living in Oxford and Cambridge, he loves cycling along the Thames but misses having his former riding buddy, Elodie the miniature schnauzer, in the basket in front of him.

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26 comments

Avatar
srchar | 4 years ago
0 likes

You can argue about semantics all you like, it won't alter the fact (proven time and time again in the real world) that government can never hope to spend 27bn Euros into the economy as effectively as if it were spent by individual people. Otherwise, we could guarantee prosperity by simply taxing everyone at 100% and having the state provide everything.

 

Avatar
Simon E replied to srchar | 4 years ago
3 likes
srchar wrote:

You can argue about semantics all you like, it won't alter the fact (proven time and time again in the real world) that government can never hope to spend 27bn Euros into the economy as effectively as if it were spent by individual people. Otherwise, we could guarantee prosperity by simply taxing everyone at 100% and having the state provide everything.

 

OK, you win.

Let's all just put our heads in the sand and do nothing.

Let's keep flying, driving and consuming to excess until we've completely fucked this unique planet beyond repair for everyone.

Avatar
srchar replied to Simon E | 4 years ago
0 likes
Simon E wrote:

OK, you win.

Let's all just put our heads in the sand and do nothing.

Let's keep flying, driving and consuming to excess until we've completely fucked this unique planet beyond repair for everyone.

I'm not advocating doing nothing. I'm just saying that it's bollocks to suggest that charging more tax has no impact on jobs.  If the answer is indeed to pay more tax, then so be it, but let's have some honesty about the economic cost.  If you want to change people's behaviour, a punitive increase in APD would be more effective than a tax on avgas.  It would be more transparent and would "punish" each decision to fly, rather than each mile flown.

Personally, I take the train whenever I travel to mainland Europe, provided that my journey can be completed within a day. Airports are awful places and flying is a wholly miserable experience.  When travelling from the south east to a western European destination, flying is scarcely quicker than the train after factoring in transfers, time wasted at the airport and long immigration queues.  Same reason that I cycle to work; it's more enjoyable and quicker than other options. The environmental and health benefits are secondary.

It's increasing the attractiveness and convenience of less polluting options that will change people's behaviour, not financial penalties. A car costs way more to run than a bicycle, but many people still won't give up their cars, even for short trips - and most drivers choose to spend more on their car than they need to, just as many of us do on our bikes.

Avatar
Simon E replied to srchar | 4 years ago
0 likes
srchar wrote:

I'm not advocating doing nothing. I'm just saying that it's bollocks to suggest that charging more tax has no impact on jobs.  If the answer is indeed to pay more tax, then so be it, but let's have some honesty about the economic cost.  If you want to change people's behaviour, a punitive increase in APD would be more effective than a tax on avgas.  It would be more transparent and would "punish" each decision to fly, rather than each mile flown.

Personally, I take the train whenever I travel to mainland Europe, provided that my journey can be completed within a day. Airports are awful places and flying is a wholly miserable experience.  When travelling from the south east to a western European destination, flying is scarcely quicker than the train after factoring in transfers, time wasted at the airport and long immigration queues.  Same reason that I cycle to work; it's more enjoyable and quicker than other options. The environmental and health benefits are secondary.

It's increasing the attractiveness and convenience of less polluting options that will change people's behaviour, not financial penalties. A car costs way more to run than a bicycle, but many people still won't give up their cars, even for short trips - and most drivers choose to spend more on their car than they need to, just as many of us do on our bikes.

Food for thought. Very interesting, thanks.

Avatar
ktache | 4 years ago
0 likes

Murdoch is a monster bent on world domination, we cheered when he was ultimately in charge so why not.

Avatar
alansmurphy | 4 years ago
0 likes

Just to clear this up, can I still cheer for our SPOTY, or Froomey, or Taaaaooooo?

Avatar
Simon E | 4 years ago
3 likes

Re. government policy, here's an example on twitter:

Quote:

Europe is a tax haven for aviation! Taxing jet fuel would:

cut CO2 emissions by 11%

cut aircraft noise by 8%

have no net impact on jobs

raise €27bn in revenues every year

has the same impact as removing almost 8 million cars from our roads

https://twitter.com/transenv/status/1127900009188470792

So why don't they do it? After all these years, why is aviation fuel still not taxed?

And why is the government so desperate to push ahead with the third runway at Heathrow?

Why are the Tory councillors in Shropshire pushing so hard for another bypass/ring road around Shrewsbury, at a projected cost of £71 million to the taxpayer, when it won't actually solve anything? At the same time they slash the pathetic public transport budget every single year.

Each car in London costs NHS and society £8,000 due to air pollution (source). And what did the government do in the last budget?

Quote:

£30 billion for roads, fuel duty freeze, Heathrow expansion, no diesel ban, cuts to support for renewables, de facto ban on onshore wind power...The list of policies designed to put rocket boosters under global warming goes on and on...

https://twitter.com/jonburkeUK/status/1056659789076406272

And no mention of climate change or steps to address the pollution and obesity related public health crises.

Quote:

Between 1980 and 2016, the cost of bus and coach travel rose by 64% and rail travel by 63%, whilst the cost of motoring dropped 20%

https://twitter.com/CBTransport/status/965579455551934465

Why does it cost so much more to travel on the train than it does to drive? If I visit my parents it's £56 off-peak return but the petrol costs me < £20. 2 adults + 2 children visiting family in Bristol would be an eye-watering £245 for an off-peak return. Car ~£30.

A day in Ludlow for 2+2 , just 30 miles down the A49, would cost £49 yet the 60 mile round trip in the car is around £8. Even if we buy a £30 family railcard every year (why do I need to pay for it?) that journey still costs £24 by train. [in fact it would be more now because our elder child is 17 and therefore deemed an 'adult' even though he's in full-time education and earning £0].

There is no incentive for me to choose the train. People who don't have a car are screwed every which way. Rail privatisation has put millions into the pockets of companies like Arriva while service and reliability has plummeted while car travel and company vehicle use is hugely subsidised. It's truly criminal. I am genuinely outraged.

I could go on, these are just a handful of examples. The most important decisions in this country are made by people who are in cahoots with the very wealthy to create a system that suits the 1% and NO-ONE ELSE. Do you think that is fair and equitable for the other 99%?

Avatar
hawkinspeter replied to Simon E | 4 years ago
1 like
Simon E wrote:

Re. government policy, here's an example on twitter:

Quote:

Europe is a tax haven for aviation! Taxing jet fuel would:

cut CO2 emissions by 11%

cut aircraft noise by 8%

have no net impact on jobs

raise €27bn in revenues every year

has the same impact as removing almost 8 million cars from our roads

https://twitter.com/transenv/status/1127900009188470792

So why don't they do it? After all these years, why is aviation fuel still not taxed?

And why is the government so desperate to push ahead with the third runway at Heathrow?

Why are the Tory councillors in Shropshire pushing so hard for another bypass/ring road around Shrewsbury, at a projected cost of £71 million to the taxpayer, when it won't actually solve anything? At the same time they slash the pathetic public transport budget every single year.

Each car in London costs NHS and society £8,000 due to air pollution (source). And what did the government do in the last budget?

Quote:

£30 billion for roads, fuel duty freeze, Heathrow expansion, no diesel ban, cuts to support for renewables, de facto ban on onshore wind power...The list of policies designed to put rocket boosters under global warming goes on and on...

https://twitter.com/jonburkeUK/status/1056659789076406272

And no mention of climate change or steps to address the pollution and obesity related public health crises.

Quote:

Between 1980 and 2016, the cost of bus and coach travel rose by 64% and rail travel by 63%, whilst the cost of motoring dropped 20%

https://twitter.com/CBTransport/status/965579455551934465

Why does it cost so much more to travel on the train than it does to drive? If I visit my parents it's £56 off-peak return but the petrol costs me < £20. 2 adults + 2 children visiting family in Bristol would be an eye-watering £245 for an off-peak return. Car ~£30.

A day in Ludlow for 2+2 , just 30 miles down the A49, would cost £49 yet the 60 mile round trip in the car is around £8. Even if we buy a £30 family railcard every year (why do I need to pay for it?) that journey still costs £24 by train. [in fact it would be more now because our elder child is 17 and therefore deemed an 'adult' even though he's in full-time education and earning £0].

There is no incentive for me to choose the train. People who don't have a car are screwed every which way. Rail privatisation has put millions into the pockets of companies like Arriva while service and reliability has plummeted while car travel and company vehicle use is hugely subsidised. It's truly criminal. I am genuinely outraged.

I could go on, these are just a handful of examples. The most important decisions in this country are made by people who are in cahoots with the very wealthy to create a system that suits the 1% and NO-ONE ELSE. Do you think that is fair and equitable for the other 99%?

...and yet people keep voting the government into power

Avatar
srchar replied to Simon E | 4 years ago
1 like
Simon E wrote:

Re. government policy, here's an example on twitter:

Quote:

Taxing jet fuel would:

have no net impact on jobs

raise €27bn in revenues every year

has the same impact as removing almost 8 million cars from our roads

https://twitter.com/transenv/status/1127900009188470792

So why don't they do it? After all these years, why is aviation fuel still not taxed?

Because placing an additional tax burden totalling 27bn Euro on people who fly (because it's them who'll pay it, not "corporations") can't possibly have zero net impact on "jobs". That alone is proof that the methodoogy is, at best, creative.

Avatar
Simon E replied to srchar | 4 years ago
2 likes
srchar wrote:

Because placing an additional tax burden totalling 27bn Euro on people who fly (because it's them who'll pay it, not "corporations") can't possibly have zero net impact on "jobs". That alone is proof that the methodoogy is, at best, creative.

That 27bn in revenue could be spent on creating jobs and infrastructure elsewhere. Isn't that the main purpose of taxation?

"Tax burden" is classic neoliberal language, the product of 40 years of Thatherite brainwashing though our lovely right-wing media and their tax-evading owners.

Is the NHS merely a burden? How about schools, police, GPs, your dentist or the council's bin men and its road resurfacing and pothole repair team?

I've heard a rumour that there are MPs who actually serve their constituents but since we've had a gravy train-riding, expense-sucking Tory MP in Shrewsbury since 2005 I've not experienced that privilege.

Perhaps frequent flyers could just drop a small donation in a collecting tin at check-in to help pay for the significant environmental harm done by air travel. 

Avatar
HarrogateSpa | 4 years ago
2 likes

The problem isn't Ineos, the problem is the use and disposal of plastic over the last 50+ years. Every single person in the world is responsible for that.

We have a single-use, throwaway plastic problem because that is what manufacturers have imposed on us. It's easier and cheaper for them: private profits, public costs - they don't pay a fraction of what it actually costs to dispose of their packaging, or the damage it causes when littered.

They have been trying to offload their responsibilities onto the general public for decades, and you haven't seen through their arguments.

It is incorrect to say it's all about individuals; and, if we bet everything on personal responsibility, we have no chance of changing the situation.

We need to address the problem at source, with the companies responsible, like Ineos.

Avatar
Rich_cb replied to HarrogateSpa | 4 years ago
2 likes
HarrogateSpa wrote:

We have a single-use, throwaway plastic problem because that is what manufacturers have imposed on us. It's easier and cheaper for them: private profits, public costs - they don't pay a fraction of what it actually costs to dispose of their packaging, or the damage it causes when littered.

They have been trying to offload their responsibilities onto the general public for decades, and you haven't seen through their arguments.

It is incorrect to say it's all about individuals; and, if we bet everything on personal responsibility, we have no chance of changing the situation.

We need to address the problem at source, with the companies responsible, like Ineos.

You can't absolve the consumer of responsibility for their choices.

If you choose to buy products wrapped in single use plastic then you have to take ownership of that decision.

You can't just blame corporations for everything.

Avatar
hawkinspeter replied to Rich_cb | 4 years ago
0 likes
Rich_cb wrote:

You can't just blame corporations for everything.

I do, comrade.

Avatar
Rich_cb replied to hawkinspeter | 4 years ago
1 like
hawkinspeter wrote:

I do, comrade.

Everything is the fault of the corporate fat cats squirrels.

Avatar
hawkinspeter replied to Rich_cb | 4 years ago
3 likes
Rich_cb wrote:
hawkinspeter wrote:

I do, comrade.

Everything is the fault of the corporate fat cats squirrels.

I know right? They've hoarded unbelievably huge piles of acorns that they can't even make use of in a single lifetime whilst other poorer squirrels have to go rummaging for mere tidbits just because they don't own the means of production.

 

Avatar
ConcordeCX replied to hawkinspeter | 4 years ago
1 like
hawkinspeter wrote:
Rich_cb wrote:
hawkinspeter wrote:

I do, comrade.

Everything is the fault of the corporate fat cats squirrels.

I know right? They've hoarded unbelievably huge piles of acorns that they can't even make use of in a single lifetime whilst other poorer squirrels have to go rummaging for mere tidbits just because they don't own the means of production.

 

my slogan in the forthcoming Euro-elections: An Oak for every squirrel! 

Victori is mine!

Avatar
hawkinspeter replied to ConcordeCX | 4 years ago
0 likes
ConcordeCX wrote:
hawkinspeter wrote:
Rich_cb wrote:
hawkinspeter wrote:

I do, comrade.

Everything is the fault of the corporate fat cats squirrels.

I know right? They've hoarded unbelievably huge piles of acorns that they can't even make use of in a single lifetime whilst other poorer squirrels have to go rummaging for mere tidbits just because they don't own the means of production.

my slogan in the forthcoming Euro-elections: An Oak for every squirrel! 

Victori is mine!

Another slogan for you: An acorn is an oak in a nutshell

Avatar
ConcordeCX replied to hawkinspeter | 4 years ago
1 like
hawkinspeter wrote:
ConcordeCX wrote:
hawkinspeter wrote:
Rich_cb wrote:
hawkinspeter wrote:

I do, comrade.

Everything is the fault of the corporate fat cats squirrels.

I know right? They've hoarded unbelievably huge piles of acorns that they can't even make use of in a single lifetime whilst other poorer squirrels have to go rummaging for mere tidbits just because they don't own the means of production.

my slogan in the forthcoming Euro-elections: An Oak for every squirrel! 

Victori is mine!

Another slogan for you: An acorn is an oak in a nutshell

too complicated for the average elector in this neck of the woods. I'll stick with a phrase I learned at work in the 1970s: I've got wood!

 

Avatar
Simon E replied to HarrogateSpa | 4 years ago
2 likes
HarrogateSpa wrote:

We have a single-use, throwaway plastic problem because that is what manufacturers have imposed on us. It's easier and cheaper for them: private profits, public costs - they don't pay a fraction of what it actually costs to dispose of their packaging, or the damage it causes when littered.

They have been trying to offload their responsibilities onto the general public for decades, and you haven't seen through their arguments.

Exactly.

People drive everywhere, even 1/2 mile to the local shop, because they've been told that is good. No-one wants us to talk about the harm that the massive growth in private car use has caused to communities over the last 50 years. The pollution and public health crises in this country are not caused solely by people who want to go to work (though there are lots of people whose affluence means they choose to live 30 or 40 miles from their workplace).

Why do companies spend such vast amounts on advertising and marketing? Because it works. And what you don't see is the time and money they spend behind closed doors, lobbying politicians and influencing government policy. This is another thing no-one wants us to talk about. Republicans and Tory politicians love deregulation and reducing 'red tape' because it makes more money for big businesses but those regulations are invariably put in place to protect people - employees, customers or the public - from big companies.

Why has my MP taken a very well paid consultancy with a mining company (despite knowing nothing about minerals or mining)? Because of where he is and who he knows (and I suspect because he has no ethics that I'm aware of). He is a puppet, he represents corporate interests, not his constituents. Politics is rotten to the core.

We as individuals can only do so much. Businesses and especially governments have a far bigger role in this. However, Ratcliffe is purposely fighting change and deliberately worsening the climate situation because he is already disgustingly wealthy yet this is not enough. He wants to be even richer and does not care one bit about the damage this does to people's lives and the earth's finite resources.

Like my MP, Ainslie is just a puppet, he is just part of the machine. Fuck both of them.

 

@hawkinspeter - it is somewhat shocking to discover that unbridled capitalism was also embraced by squirrel society. Still, survival of the fittest and all that, we should soon have a race of super-squirrels who can take over the world.  3

Avatar
fukawitribe replied to Simon E | 4 years ago
2 likes

[snip] Sod it, life's too short.

Avatar
srchar | 4 years ago
2 likes

Sorry crazy-legs, but you're not allowed to be opposed to large-scale tax avoidance by a company's CEO but supportive of its investments in cycling, recycling and renewables. All or nothing next time please, otherwise folk get confused.

Avatar
crazy-legs | 4 years ago
4 likes

That's precisely my point. Everyone is doing all these shitty things so the hypocrisy of picking up on just Ineos (who by the way very few people had even heard of before they threw tens of millions of pounds into a predominantly British outfit) is just hand-wringing.

Maybe their sponsorship has actually been a good thing - for one thing it's employing 70-80 staff and riders mostly based in the UK but also it's focussed attention on environmental concerns, possibly (hopefully) forcing a bit of an attitude change. Personally I'm more annoyed that the CEO is a Brexit-voting multi-billionaire who's fucked off to Monaco to avoid a £4bn tax bill here. That could pay for a lot of schools, hospitals, emergency services and pothole repairs.

But singling out Ineos is just because suddenly it's cool to hate them. Same as it was cool to slag off Sky. How much placarding and campaigning and social media anger have you directed at any of the other fracking companies working in the UK? None I'll bet. And if you even can name any other than Cuadrilla without googling I'll be astonished.

I'll give you one for free. French oil company Total (yes, them that sponsor Total Direct Energie!) have given nearly £30 million to a company called IGas Energy who are currently exploring for shale gas in central England. Didn't see much placarding directed at them during the Tour de Yorkshire! (actually I didn't see much placarding directed at Ineos either in spite of certain media attempts to make it sound like the route was lined with protests - it wasn't at all).

Avatar
ktache | 4 years ago
2 likes

Well that and the tax dodging.

And the fracking.

Avatar
Simon E | 4 years ago
4 likes

"We care deeply about cleaning up our oceans, finding solutions to environmental threats. We are still absolutely committed to these issues.”

Liar.

Fuck off.

Avatar
crazy-legs replied to Simon E | 4 years ago
3 likes
Simon E wrote:

"We care deeply about cleaning up our oceans, finding solutions to environmental threats. We are still absolutely committed to these issues.”

Liar.

Fuck off.

I don't get it. Is it suddenly fashionable to hate them because they took over from Sky? Bet you'd never heard of them before that had you? Is there just some sort of "must be seen to hate" because it's perceived as being cool to slag off success?

The problem isn't Ineos, the problem is the use and disposal of plastic over the last 50+ years. Every single person in the world is responsible for that. Plastics exist - the problem is that nothing was known about the potential problem for decades. I'm willing to be that pretty much every man-made item you buy has some form of plastics or petrochemical contribution from one of the major chemical firms, be it Ineos or Total (by the way, talking of Total, I presume you're also dead against their sponsorship or the Total Direct Energie cycling team?) or BP or ExxonMobil.

Ineos are one of the few companies doing anything about the recycling of styrofoam. They make lightweight composites for wind turbines for more efficient energy generation. The kneejerk "Ineos = bad" is just shallow and crap and unoriginal.

But I guess that's just the British way - must knock success at all costs.

 

Avatar
Simon E replied to crazy-legs | 4 years ago
3 likes
crazy-legs wrote:

Ineos are one of the few companies doing anything about the recycling of styrofoam. They make lightweight composites for wind turbines for more efficient energy generation. The kneejerk "Ineos = bad" is just shallow and crap and unoriginal.

But I guess that's just the British way - must knock success at all costs.

If that interpretation suits you then go ahead. To me it's you that has the knee-jerk reaction, just like those who say that unless you live off-grid in a house built from trees you grew and cut yourself, knit your own lentils etc etc then you can't criticise a polluting multinational that wants to relax EU pollution legislation. Which merely looks like an attempt to silence any critics.

From where I'm looking Ainslie is talking the usual "caring" claptrap but not doing. He's a sponsored athlete/sportsperson, they all do it. They are simply pawns.

Team Sky did not bring about any meaningful change with their green rainforest jerseys or the Ocean Rescue orcas. I don't think they really raised much awareness (it's why it is called "greenwashing"). The team was merely an advertising vehicle for an old-school media mogul that many people detest. Their relentless pursuit of success in bicycle races comes at a high environmental cost. Other teams have increased budgets - and by necessity their carbon footprint - such as Trek-Segafredo, who say they get through 70,000 plastic bidons per year (to quote just one stat).

If it's so great that Ineos is doing something about styrofoam and making wind turbine blades, I guess you mean no-one else is doing these things, and we can ignore all the other shitty stuff they do?

Ratcliffe and Ineos are not merely a part of the problem but they side with the climate change deniers and want to delay any movement towards zero fossil-fuel use and a low-carbon economy.

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