Tao Geoghegan Hart enters cycling folklore with Giro d'Italia victory

Yahoo Sports

Yahoo Sports / Yahoo Sports 9 Views 0

Tao Geoghegan Hart — Tao Geoghegan Hart enters cycling folklore with Giro d'Italia victory
Tao Geoghegan Hart — Tao Geoghegan Hart enters cycling folklore with Giro d'Italia victory

Tao Geoghegan Hart has become the fifth Briton to win a Grand Tour with victory in the Giro d'Italia.

The 25-year-old Londoner pulled on the pink jersey for the first time on the final podium in Milan after a dramatic closing weekend of the race, which saw two riders not considered contenders at the outset starting the last stage level on time - unprecedented in a Grand Tour.

Sunweb's Jai Hindley had taken pink as Geoghegan Hart won stage 20 on Saturday, but got to wear it for only 18 minutes in the race as Geoghegan Hart beat the Australian by 39 seconds over the closing 15.7 kilometre time trial.

Geoghegan Hart's Ineos Grenadiers team-mate Filippo Ganna took the stage win with a time of 17 minutes 16.55 seconds, some 32 seconds faster than second-placed Victor Campernaerts.

That secured the Italian's fourth stage win of the race and a seventh for the team - making this the most successful Grand Tour in the history of what was Team Sky and then Team Ineos.

Geoghegan Hart follows Sir Bradley Wiggins, Chris Froome, Geraint Thomas and Simon Yates in winning one of the big three stage races on the calendar, delivering Britain's 11th Grand Tour victory since Wiggins won the Tour de France in 2012, and second in the Giro after Froome won in 2018.

But this was by far the most unexpected entry on the list, with Geoghegan Hart having started the Giro planning to support Thomas before the Welshman's race-ending crash on stage three.

The race also lost fellow contenders Simon Yates and Steven Kruijswijk following positive tests for coronavirus, while more established names like Vincenzo Nibali and Jakob Fuglsang came up short at the end of this stangest of seasons.

An outstanding final week in the mountains propelled Geoghegan Hart up the standings, with his victory on Saturday's stage 20 setting up the unprecedented scenario of the top two in a Grand Tour being level on time at the start of the final day.

"It's bizarre, to be honest," Geoghegan Hart said. "Not in my wildest dreams did I imagine that this would be possible when we started nearly a month ago in Sicily.

"All of my career I've dreamt of trying to be in the top five, top 10 maybe in a race of this stature so this is something completely and utterly different. I think this is going to take a long time to sink in."

Geoghegan Hart was up on every time check during the time trial, which fittingly resembled an old-fashioned British 10-miler in distance.

His advantage was such that the team car were telling him to ease off towards the end.

"You know you're in a pretty good situation when they're screaming at you not to take any risks in the last kilometre," he said. "It's not often your directeur sportif tells you to slow down in a 15km time trial but I knew the work had been done up to that point."

Hindley's team-mate Wilco Kelderman, who lost pink to his team-mate Hindley on stage 19 over the Stelvio on Friday, took third place overall, 89 seconds down overall.

Joao Almeida, who enjoyed 15 days in the pink jersey, finished fourth with Pello Bilbao fifth.

Nibali took seventh place, leaving Italy without a rider in the top five for the first time in Giro history.
PA

03:58 PM

Geoghegan Hart looking pretty in pink

Tao Geoghegan Hart arrives on the podium in the maglia rosa. After elbowing — in the nicest possible way, of course — Jai Hindley and Wilco Kelderman, who finished second and third respectively, he takes centre stage before the national anthem is blasted.

Tao Geoghegan Hart and Jai Hindley  -  REUTERS
Tao Geoghegan Hart and Jai Hindley - REUTERS

It looks slightly bizarre in central Milan as there's no crowd to speak of, and his family cannot be with him because of obvious reasons, but Geoghegan Hartlooks utterly delighted. Well, you would be if you had just won the Giro d'Italia, wouldn't you?

Tao Geoghegan Hart  - GETTY IMAGES
Tao Geoghegan Hart - GETTY IMAGES

03:52 PM

How was that Tao? 'Bizarre'

Speaking immediately after becoming the latest winner of the Giro d'Italia, Tao Geoghegan Hart describes the experience as "bizarre ".

“Yeah, not in my wildest dreams did I imagine that this would be possible when we started almost a month ago in Sicily. I think all of my career I’ve dreamed of trying to be top five, top 10, maybe, in a race of this stature, so this is something completely and utterly different to that, and I think it’s going to take a long time to sink in. 

My DS [directeur sportif] Toso [Matteo Tosatto] said I was 10 seconds up, and then he kept giving me a few seconds. Er, I only really knew that we must be in a pretty good situation when he was screaming not to take any risks in the last kilometre, so, er, not often that your DS tells you to slow down that much in a 15k TT [time trial], but I also knew the work was done up to that point, so, yeah, incredible to arrive here in the Duomo in the centre of Milan."

But how will it change him as a rider? "I don't know and I don't really care," he said. Somehow I think we are going to see and hear an awful lot more from Geoghegan Hart and he is going to win many, many more big races. He is still only 25, that's seven years younger than Bradley Wiggins was when he won the Tour de France in 2012.

"Yeah, it’s really, really incredible and, er, I’m going to stay the same person, I’m going to stay as professional as I believe I always have been, and dedicated and wake up every day looking forward to riding my bike, and loving my life and being grateful for Dana and the amazing position of privilege that I’m in to be in this position on this team and these beautiful races."

03:43 PM

British Cycling hails Britain's new sporting hero

Julie Harrington, British Cycling chief executive, said: "Tao’s achievement is first and foremost a tribute to the qualities of a rider who is an excellent ambassador for our sport. He conducts himself brilliantly on and off the bike, and I am thrilled for him and for his family.

"His success is also a tribute to the people who have helped him along the way — including Hackney Cycle Club, Condor Cycles, the Dave Rayner Fund, his coaches in the British Cycling academy and many others who volunteer their time to put on grassroots cycle sport events in this county. I join with them in cheering this latest British cycling success story."

03:40 PM

Decent day at the office for these boys . . .

tao
tao

03:35 PM

Geoghegan Hart joins the legends of the sport

Jai Hindley appears distraught, Tao Geoghegan Hart has a smile the width of Hackney Marshes. He embraces team-mate Filippo Ganna before hugging his boss, Dave Brailsford. Hannah Barnes, the Canyon–Sram rider and Geoghegan Hart's partner, is in Milan and gives him a big celebratory kiss. Absolute scenes of joy.

Tao Geoghegan Hart and Hannah Barnes - AP
Tao Geoghegan Hart and Hannah Barnes - AP

03:31 PM

Geoghegan Hart has won the Giro d'Italia

Jai Hindley has finished his time trial, but he was unable to match or beat Tao Geoghegan Hart. The Ineos Grenadiers rider has won the Giro d'Italia. What a story, what a result for the young Briton. Fillipo Ganna, by the way, won the stage so a double reason for celebration in the Ineos Grenadiers team bus in Milan this afternoon.

03:27 PM

Geoghegan Hart completes his Giro

Tao Geoghegan Hart goes around the final corner a little gingerly. He's going to do this, the 25-year-old that 10 years ago bunked off school to go and ride with Team Sky on the team's launch in central London, is moments away from winning the Giro d'Italia.

03:26 PM

Geoghegan Hart is going to do this . . .

  . . . he's looking really smooth here. Tao Geoghegan Hart is minutes away from winning the Giro d'Italia.

Tao Geoghegan Hart - AFP
Tao Geoghegan Hart - AFP

03:24 PM

Geoghegan Hart just 4km away from glory

Tao Geoghegan Hart is leading by 18 seconds. All he needs to do now is stay upright, pray there are no mechanical issues and finish this off. Jai Hindley, by contrast, needs to get a wriggle on if he wants to keep that pink jersey and take it home to Australia.

03:22 PM

Geoghegan Hart is making gains

Tao Geoghegan Hart, the rider from east London, has increased his advantage over Jai Hindley. That gap is up to 13sec.

03:21 PM

Geoghegan Hart is up on Hindley!

Tao Geoghegan Hart is the virtual leader at the Giro d'Italia. The Ineos Grenadiers rider has around 9second on Jai Hindley, but can he hold onto that or will the Aussie claw his way back into this?

03:19 PM

Geoghegan Hart going full gas

Tao Geoghegan Hart is looking quite confident, down on those tricky time trial handlebars through the roundabouts. Jai Hindley is riding with a n=ice smooth pedal stroke. Extremely hard to call, as you would expect.

03:16 PM

Nibali clocks off . . .

The veteran Italian has completed his Giro d'Italia, but all we really want to know is how Tao Geoghegan Hart and Jai Hindley are going, isn't it? Both are looking relatively smooth, but there are no time splits yet and so I cannot tell you how close they are to each other. Not just yet, at least.

03:12 PM

The final countdown . . .

Jai Hindley, the overall race leader at the Giro d'Italia, is on the road. But can the Australian hold onto that maglia rosa, or will he lose out to the Briton? 

03:10 PM

Can he do it Bradley?

"Of course he can," Bradley Wiggins tells Rob Hatch on Eurosport.

03:10 PM

Here we go . . .

Tao Geoghegan Hart  has just rolled down the starting ramp. The 25-year-old form east London has his time trila under way.

03:05 PM

Almeida's last stand

Joao Almeida (Deceuninck-Quick Step)  is out on the course and is hoping to keep hold of his top-five spot. This is his first ever grand tour and he wore the maglia rosa for 15 days, only one day fewer than the fabled jersey has been on the shoulders of Vincenzo Nibali over the years. This is an incredible statistic. One person that has never worn the jersey is Tao Geoghegan Hart, but will he be getting his hand on one in around 30 minutes?

03:01 PM

Pizza the action . . .

I think the boy Filippo Ganna has deserved this.

03:00 PM

No country for old men . . .

Jakob Fuglsang (Astana), sixth on general classification, is out on the road, three minutes behind Vincenzo Nibali (Trek-Segafredo). Both have had disappointing races, no stage wins and in reality, neither posed any threat to the young guns that are vying to win this Giro. 

02:54 PM

Counting down . . .

Fausto Masnada, the Italian climber that joined Deceuninck-Quick Step mid-season in order to help Remco Evenepoel at the Giro, is out on the course. Evenepoel is not here and the team's Portuguese rider Joao Almeida wore the leader's maglia rosa for 15 days, but Masnada started his time trial ninth on general classification. That's right folks, we are getting closer to the ultimate race of truth when  Tao Geoghegan Hart will go head-to-head with Jai Hindley to decide who takes home the final maglia rosa which, let's face it, is the only one that matters.

02:45 PM

Majka polishing off another grand tour

Rafal Majka (Bora-Hansgrohe), the Polish climber who has been struggling over the last few days with stomach issues, has rolled down the starting ramp and we are just minutes away from the top 10 riders and about 25 minutes away from Tao Geoghegan Hart doing the biggest time trial of his life.

02:38 PM

De Gendt's final test

Thomas De Gendt (Lotto-Soudal), who is no slouch when it comes to racing against the clock, is out on the course while Rohan Dennis has completed his Giro. The Australian set the third fastest time of the day (17min 48.87sec).

Thomas De Gendt  - GETTY IMAGES
Thomas De Gendt - GETTY IMAGES

De Gendt, by the way, is completing his second back-to-back grand tour today after also riding the Tour de France. 

02:31 PM

Dennis off the pace

Though looking very good on his time trial bike, Rohan Dennis appears to taking things relatively easy out on the road. In fact, he has just gone through the timecheck which comes after 10.3km around 20sec down on his team-mate Filippo Ganna.

02:22 PM

Dennis the menace?

Rohan Dennis is on the road. Ordinarily the Australian would be the biggest threat to Filippo Ganna. However, the two-time world time trial champion put in some huge efforts in the mountains on behalf of Tao Geoghegan Hart so it will be interesting to see how he gets on. 

Speaking to Orla Chennaoui on Eurosport earlier, Dennis explained how he and his team-mates have been doing their best to keep Geoghegan Hart believing in himself ahead of today's final test for the Londoner.

"We’ll do our best to give him [Geoghegan Hart] as many tips as possible. It is only 15km. Technically, Tao is a better time trialist but anything can happen. We have to keep everything light-hearted, keep Tao really believing in himself and try not to put that pressure on him.

"Everything has gone absolutely amazingly for him so far and we have to keep doing what we’re doing. Whatever the result, we can still take a lot from this Tour. After losing Geraint Thomas, everything almost went out the window but now we’re joint first. We’re just ecstatic about everything that’s happened these last 21 days."

02:12 PM

Ganna sets new benchmark

Filippo Ganna appears set fare to win his fourth stage at this, his debut outing at the Giro d'Italia, having set a new fastest time of 17min 16sec, that's a massive 31sec faster than Victor Campenaerts.

Filippo Ganna - GETTY IMAGES
Filippo Ganna - GETTY IMAGES

02:09 PM

Clocking off . . .

Stage eight winner Alex Dowsett is once again on top Twitter form.

02:07 PM

Ganna is flying

It will surprise nobody to discover that local lad Filippo Ganna is absolutely flying. He was 20 seconds faster than Victor Campenaerts at the one and only timecheck in this final-day time trial. 

02:05 PM

Close, but no cigar for Haga

Chad Haga (Sunweb), whose last time trial win was in the final stage of last year's Giro d'Italia, has just completed his race. The American did a decent ride, though was unable to dislodge Victor Campenaerts from his top spot with a time of 18min 00.90sec.

02:02 PM

Wiggins: 'Tao, you are a hero now'

Talking on his latest podcast 'The Bradley Wiggins Show', the former Tour de France champion heaped praise upon Tao Geoghegan Hart who can win the Giro d'Italia here today if he beats Jai Hindley by more than 86 hundredths of a second and, of course, he doesn't lose a stack of time to those behind him on general classification.

"He’s a fan of the sport, modest, a real gentleman and a privilege to have as a British rider in this team. [Geoghegan Hart] sent me a message the other day and said: ‘thanks for being an inspiration, if it wasn’t for you I wouldn’t be here.’ I think that’s too generous. We’ve all got a part to play. Without Sean Yates and Robert Millar, there’s no Bradley Wiggins. Without Barry Hoban and Tommy Simpson there’s be no Sean Yates and Robert Millar. It’s part of a trail, it’s part of a line of British stars that go and try and take on the European scene.

"You’re now one of them. You’re on the verge of greatness. You’re already great, you’ve come of age, you’ve proved your talent. You’re about to win the Giro d’Italia. You’ve surpassed me in so many ways. In some ways you’re a better version of everything that I wanted to be. My son’s fifteen – he looks up to you. You’re now his hero. You’ve made it mate, you’re on top of the world."

01:55 PM

Ganna out on the course

Jan Tratnik (Bahrain-McLaren), a stage winner earlier this week, is out on the road and the Slovenian was followed by Filippo Ganna a minute later. The Italian, of course, has already won three stages at this year's Giro, including both of the two time trials.

Filippo Ganna - GETTY IMAGES
Filippo Ganna - GETTY IMAGES

As it stands, world hour record holder Victor Campenaerts (NTT) has set the fastest time, the Belgian is sitting in the hotseat with a time of 17min 48.08sec.

01:50 PM

Ganna almost ready to roll . . .

Filippo Ganna, the world time trial champion, is just minutes away from getting his race under way. The popular Italian is scheduled to start at 1.52pm, while Rohan Dennis (Ineos Grenadiers), a two-time world time trial champion, rolls down the starting ramp at 2.17pm. Here's the schedule of the final 10 riders today. 

01:40 PM

Geoghegan Hart can join the immortals in ultimate race of truth

Having already won two stages at the Giro d'Italia, Tao Geoghegan Hart can become a legend of the sport if he takes home the maglia rosa

Just 15.7 kilometres now stand between Tao Geoghegan Hart and the young man from east London joining cycling's immortals.

Having navigated his way the length and breadth of Italy, from the rough roads of Sicily that did for his team leader Geraint Thomas, to the mythical climbs in the north, Geoghegan Hart has not only coped admirably, but excelled beyond belief. He is now in Milan unscathed.

As Geoghegan Hart knows to his cost, simply making it through a grand tour is no easy feat. At last year's race the Ineos Grenadiers rider crashed on the unluckiest of days, forcing him to abandon during stage 13. On Sunday, however, he can bounce back from that disappointment in the best possible manner: by winning the toughest of the three grand tours.

01:00 PM

Afternoon

Hello everybody and welcome to the final stage of the Giro d'Italia, the 15.7km individual time trial from Cernusco sul Naviglio to Milan. Seeing as you are here then you probably know the drill, but for those who are relatively new to the sport here's how today will work.

Riders will set out from the starting ramp in reverse order of the general classification and so Jonathan Dibben (Lotto-Soudal) who is last in the standings was the first man to set off at 12.40pm (GMT), while Jai Hindley (Sunweb) will be the last, getting his race under way at 3.12pm. 

Each rider will start a minute after the other, though those in the top 10 will be separated by three minutes.

The stage itself is relatively straightforward, with just a couple of twists and turns that may cause the riders any issues, 

TT
TT

As you can see, the stage is incredibly flat and so it will be very fast. 

TT
TT

World time trial champion Filippo Ganna (Ineos Grenadiers) is the overriding favourite to win the stage, although most of the focus today will be on Hindley and Tao Geoghegan Hart (Ineos Grenadiers) who are separated at the top of the general classification by just 86 hundredths of a second. It is the narrowest margin ever between the top two riders going into the final stage of a grand tour. 

Comments