Nicolas Portal: Team Ineos sports director dies aged 40
Chris Froome pays tribute: "He was the kindest, happiest guy I knew and always lived life to the fullest"
Last Updated: 03/03/20 8:42pm
Former Team Sky rider and Team Ineos sports director Nicolas Portal has died aged 40.
Team Ineos released a statement on Tuesday night which read: "It is with the greatest sadness that we announce the passing of our much-loved team-mate, colleague and friend Nico Portal who died suddenly this afternoon at his home in Andorra.
"We are all overcome with grief at this terrible news and would ask everyone to respect the family's privacy at this difficult time.
"RIP Nico - your spirit will always be with us on the road and you will forever be in our hearts."
It is with the greatest sadness that we announce the passing of our much loved team mate, colleague and friend Nico Portal who died suddenly this afternoon at his home in Andorra.— Team INEOS (@TeamINEOS) March 3, 2020
Portal began his racing career for the French team AG2R Prevoyance in 2001, and joined Caisse d'Epargne for three seasons before ending with Team Sky in 2010.
He struggled with illness but still raced a full season and was part of Team Sky during Bradley Wiggins' 2012 Tour de France win.
He also helped the team as sporting director with victories for Chris Froome (2013 and 2015-2017) and Geraint Thomas (2018).
The team changed names to Team Ineos when Egan Bernal won last year.
Froome paid tribute to his former boss at Team Sky.
He tweeted: "My thoughts are with Nico's wife and children tonight. He was the kindest, happiest guy I knew and always lived life to the fullest. Rest In Peace Nico"