Ineos Grenadiers’ deputy team principal Rod Ellingworth says the prospect of a women’s road cycling team is “heading in right direction”.
Ineos have one of the biggest budgets in cycling, but have so far not been involved in the Women’s World Tour.
The team signed multi-discipline world champion Pauline Ferrand-Prevot of France for a new mountain bike programme last year.
“We’re certainly looking at moving forward,” said Ellingworth.
“We’re moving in the right direction. Bringing in Pauline at the back end of last year, purposely to support her Olympic campaign… she has been a fantastic addition to team.”
Ineos – in their previous guise as Team Sky – won seven Tour de France titles in 10 years in the men’s World Tour, and there have been calls for them to support women’s cycling with a full road race set up.
Women’s cycling has been growing in recent years, but prize money and contracts are dwarfed by the men’s side of the sport.
Ellingworth, 50, added that there were no real barriers to starting up a team, and that “we’ve shown we are looking to spread our wings. We’re an ambitious team and we want to keep moving forward”.
Tao Geoghegan Hart, 28, will lead the men’s team in the 2023 Giro d’Italia, which starts on Saturday, alongside 2018 Tour de France winner Geraint Thomas.
Geoghegan Hart – who won the three-week race in 2020 – was victorious in last week’s warm-up race the Tour of the Alps, and has returned to the form he had three years ago, after suffering illness and injury.
“From the outside it looks like he’s under-performed,” said Ellingworth. “But from the inside he really was putting the effort in – maybe he was over-reaching to prove people wrong.
“But he’s started to get a bit a of rhythm and got his mojo back again. He’s coming into this race in better condition than we’ve ever seem him before.”
Geoghegan Hart and Thomas are up against other race favourites, including Belgian sensation Remco Evenepoel of Soudal-Quick Step and Slovenia’s Primoz Roglic of Jumbo-Visma.
The Giro starts this Saturday with a time trial on the Adriatic coast near Pescara.