Brailsford: Strategy overcame chaos for INEOS
Dave Brailsford said "strategy paid out over chaos" in the best Tour de France he has been involved in after Egan Bernal all but secured the title in a Team INEOS one-two.
Bernal is set to become the first Colombian Tour champion in Paris on Sunday after finishing fourth in a shortened penultimate stage from Albertville to Val Thorens, which was won by Vincenzo Nibali.
Defending champion Geraint Thomas put an arm around his team-mate Bernal as they crossed the line together on Saturday, effectively securing the top two places in the general classification.
The 22-year-old Bernal is poised to become the third-youngest winner of the race, having taken the yellow jersey off Julian Alaphilippe with an aggressive climb of the Col de l'Iseran on Friday before stage 19 was cut short due to a hail storm and mudslides in the Alps.
Brailsford has overseen six victories in the previous seven editions of the race for Team Sky and is savouring the prospect of celebrating yet again on the Champs-Elysees with the backing of a new sponsor.
The Team INEOS boss said: "I think everybody's been questioning the team a bit.
"It was a brilliant race, it was the most exciting Tour de France that we've taken part in. Credit to [Julian] Alaphilippe, because he died for that jersey every day and he made a lot of people second think what they thought they knew. And I think [Thibaut] Pinot did the same in the Pyrenees.
"But in the end strategy paid out over chaos, and teamwork paid out over individuals. You've got to wait until the end of the race to make a judgement, and that’s what's happened."
He added: "We knew we had a group of older guys who were performing well, but we looked very hard to find the new generation and we decided that it was going to be Egan. We fought pretty hard to get him and he developed fantastically well.
"The advice that G [Thomas] has given [Bernal], he knows what he's doing, he's generous with his advice and a generous person in that regard and in the end it was all about the team winning.
"A lot of people may have questioned having two leaders, were we hedging our bets and whether it was going to work. It's worked to perfection and you can't get better than second and first."
Steven Kruijswijk moved up to third in the general classification after the last competitive day of racing, with Alaphilippe dropping to fifth behind Emanuel Buchmann.