Nico Portal dead at 40: Froome’s Tour de France race coach ‘dies of heart attack’ as Geraint Thomas mourns ‘friend’ – The Sun

Nico Portal dead at 40: Froome’s Tour de France race coach ‘dies of heart attack’ as Geraint Thomas mourns ‘friend’ – The Sun


CYCLING is in mourning after the mastermind behind Chris Froome's Tour de France wins, Nico Portal, died aged 40.

The Frenchman has passed away from a heart attack in Andorra, according to Gazzetta dello Sport.

Portal was the 'directeur sportif' or 'DS' behind four of their victories in the Yellow Jersey for Team Sky — now Team Ineos — and was Sir Dave Brailsford's eyes and ears on the road.

Froome 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."

Team Ineos confirmed in a statement: "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."

Heartbroken Geraint Thomas said: "Can't quite get my head around it.

"Nico was so talented, warm, genuine and always there when I needed him.

"He was more than my colleague, he was my friend."

Portal, a charismatic go-between for Brailsford and star riders like Froome, Geraint Thomas and Sir Bradley Wiggins, was one of the understated figures behind their wins on the roads of France.

He rode for Sky during their first season in 2010 before moving into the team car, where he could be found barking orders at riders during races — and they were usually the right ones.

But he Portal was renowned for his calm influence in the car, especially during sometimes frantic stages of the Tour.

He was also a doting dad with a wife and two young children, whom he would be way from for months, plotting the sport's latest masterstroke.

It was Portal who was in the car when Froome rode a staggering solo effort to go from 3min 22sec down in the 19th stage of the 2018 Giro d'Italia, to take the leader's Pink Jersey.

On winning that race, Froome became the first rider to hold all three Grand Tour jerseys — for the Tour de France, Giro d'Italia and Vuelta a Espana — at the same time.

A great Welsh??????? Man King ? of the Tour de France??. #teamsky @geraintthomas86

A post shared byNicolas Portal (@niko_portal) on

Really nice to ride here again! Thanks Froomey for waiting for me on the Ventoux…? Ready for July?

A post shared byNicolas Portal (@niko_portal) on


Former Sky ace Peter Kennaugh tweeted: "My first room mate as a pro.

"Can’t believe the news of Nico Portal passing away my thoughts and love are with his family who he cherished more than anything.

"The friendliest most genuine, kind person you could wish to meet, words can’t explain how much he will be missed x"

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