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Team Ineos sports director Nicolas Portal dead at 40 - team

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Paris (AFP)

Nicolas Portal, the sports director of British cycling outfit Team Ineos, died suddenly at his home in Andorra aged 40, his team said Tuesday.

Portal took part in the Tour de France six times as a rider and retired in 2010 after diagnosis of an irregular heartbeat.

After becoming Team Sky sports director in 2013 he helped guide Chris Froome to his first Tour de France win, and was still in the job with Ineos at the time of his death.

A hugely popular figure on the cycling circuit the affable Portal died suddenly at his home.

"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," an Ineos statement said Tuesday.

"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."

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