Tao Geoghegan Hart: “Wouldn’t have even considered winning”

Jack Kershaw third in from the left in the white jersey. Image courtesy of Phil O’Connor.
Jack Kershaw third in from the left in the white jersey. Image courtesy of Phil O’Connor.
by Joe Mansfield
NEWLY crowned Giro d’Italia champion Tao Geoghegan would never have even considered the ‘fairytale’ of winning before the prestigious event began.
The 25-year-old, who became just the fifth Briton to win a Grand Tour on Sunday, was set to ride for Ineos Grenadier team leader Geraint Thomas, but when the Welshman crashed out on stage 3, he was gifted the opportunity to flourish.
And ex-professional rider Jack Kershaw, who mentored Geoghegan through the Great Britain Under-23s, explained the true scale of his achievement.

“Before the tour he wouldn’t have even considered winning, it wouldn’t have come into the equation.

“He’d have been there to help G (Geraint Thomas) and that would have been the end of it.

“There aren’t many fairy tales when you are working for a team leader. It’s a case of do your job, get as much rest as you can, eat, drink and get up the next day as lively as you can and so it would not have been on his radar.”

Geoghegan Hart received immense support of his own, from teammates Fillipo Ganna and in particular Rohan Dennis. The latter guided the winner of the Maglia Rosa (Pink Jersey) through the mountains and nullified the efforts of any challengers.

Kershaw appreciated the efforts of Geoghegan Hart’s fellow Grenadiers and highlighted the need for a cycling team to function as a cohesive unit and work collaboratively for the same goal.

“With the Under 23’s we had lads who were all wanting to become Tour de France winners and so they were all individuals, but you had to weld them into wanting to ride as a team because that’s the way cycling works.

“If individuals become team players you get good teams but if they stay as individuals they go to another team.”

Team Ineos and Team SKY as they were previously known have experienced tremendous success with ten victories in Grand Tours.

The team of cycling ‘Galacticos’ will have four Grand Tour winners among their ranks next year which means the role of team leader will be hotly contested.

“If he keeps the form and the confidence, along with the potential he has shown, he’s got to be right up there in the mix with Thomas, Bernal, Carapaz and Yates.”

Kershaw aims to get into contact again with Geoghegan Hart to reminisce about old times once things have calmed down for the newfound star.