Team Ineos sporting director Nicolas Portal has died at the age of 40.
Former professional cyclist Portal helped oversee Briton Chris Froome’s four triumphs in the Tour de France from 2013 to 2017.
A statement from Team Ineos said the Frenchman died at home in Andorra on Tuesday afternoon.
He rode for Team Sky and stayed on as a manager before taking over as directeur sportif following Sean Yates’ retirement in 2012.
It was reported by Italian newspaper La Gazzetta Dello Sport that he had suffered a heart attack.
A statement from Team Ineos, previously known as Team Sky, said: “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.”
The role of a directeur sportif – sporting director in English – can be seen as similar to that of a head coach in football.
During races directeurs sportif follow the peloton in a car, communicating with riders about tactics and passing on any required information, as well as liaising with organisers.