INEOS thrives on competition and showing others what can be done. So running a cycling race was always going to be a winner
INEOS likes to challenge its workforce to go that extra mile for themselves and others. And this year is no exception.
But even INEOS was taken aback at the speed of the response from staff all over the world to its latest call to action.
Just a week before the start of this year’s Tour de France, teams of up to 20 were invited to complete each stage of the world’s most famous cycle race as part of INEOS’ first-ever Tour de France Challenge.
“We weren’t expecting to have more than 15 teams,” said Fred Michel, who came up with the concept with Jeroen Plasman and Richard Longden.
But within a week 1,000 riders from more than 40 teams had ridden more than 300,000 km – the equivalent of cycling around the Earth over seven times.
As the real riders had chased each other through the French countryside for the coveted title, INEOS’ teams had been squeezing in their mileage – before, during or after work.
The only criteria had been that each team member would decide how far to cycle each day.
“One of our objectives was simply to get people moving more than they usually would,” said Fred who received emails from staff thanking him for running the event.
“They didn’t normally cycle to work but because of the challenge, they had decided to get on their bikes and had enjoyed it,” he said. “Others had encouraged their whole family to cycle at the weekends and again that was something they would never have done.”
About 15 million spectators had lined the route of this year’s Tour de France as the riders headed for Paris and the final sprint down the Champs-Élysées.
INEOS’ teams did not see many others, except for their teammates, even in the closing stages.
By the time they had finished, they had collectively burned almost two million calories.
But to appeal to INEOS’ competitive spirit, there were prizes.
The Antwerp-5 were named as the team which covered the biggest distance. They covered 17,481km.
“What’s amazing about Le Tour de France is that you see how people can surpass themselves and how important it is to be part of a team because they really help each other to be stronger,” said Fred Michel, who came up with the concept with Jeroen Plasman and Richard Longden. “To us, that’s the INEOS philosophy.”
INEOS’ coveted yellow jersey was won by Stéphane Frigiolini, 31, from Tavaux. He completed the entire distance of 3,540 km, on his own, in 23 days.
The pink jersey went to Jane Kinsella as the woman who completed the furthest distance. She rode a total of 1,275km. Her colleague Christina Schulte won a pink jersey too for cycling uphill the furthest, climbing 1,365 metres.
The white jersey was won by Stef Raets who was named as the under 25-year-old who cycled the furthest, clocking up 804km.
The King of the Mountain’s jersey, which was reserved for the man who made it harder for himself by riding the furthest uphill, was awarded to Matthew Rimmer. He climbed 2,953 metres.
And the Grangemouth-3 won the halfway team sprint.
But perhaps the real winners in INEOS’ challenge were those in need. At the start INEOS had promised to donate £1,000 to every team, which covered the distance over 21 days, to a charity of their choosing.
When the challenge ended, 1,037 people in 41 teams had cycled 324,393 km – and wheeled in £40,049 for charity.