8.19.2016

Tao Geoghegan Hart: "This season was about becoming more consistent, and developing as a rider and as a person, before making the big step"

Tao Geoghegan Hart: 
"In 2010, as a 14 year old, it happened to me to be part of the Team Sky launch ride. I remember riding behind those guys and dreaming, just being in absolute awe. It's not dissimilar to that now, dreaming to be on Team Sky, and I still look up to those guys. I guess you never know, but maybe it was small moments like that when I was young that inspired me to go out there, ride my bike every day, and brought me to the path I find myself on years later. It's a special memory to have been there when the team first started and to have had the chance to ride alongside some of those guys that day.
The stagiaire period and the two training camps, in December 2014 and July 2015, were big experiences. Understanding the size of the team was definitely key - a Continental team has two or three mechanics and carers, so to see the whole team together and all those people behind the scenes made me realise the size and depth of the Team Sky organisation.
It's super exciting for me. There are guys here who have come through a similar path to me and also have a background on the track - I was on British Cycling's programme up until the age of 18 when I went to Axeon. These are riders that I have looked up to for a very long time, so to be team-mates with them is very exciting. Hopefully it will make the step up into being a WorldTour rider a little bit easier.
It was great to race with the team last year too, particularly with someone like Swifty [Ben Swift] in the Japan Cup. He's been with the team from the start so it was really cool to get to know him and help him a little bit in the race. Obviously I've raced against the team over the last few years too and that's always been cool, watching them from within a race. It makes it all the more exciting to be a part of Team Sky next year.
I've been pleased with my consistency throughout the year. Whenever I've got on the start line with a number on my back I've looked to get a result or animate the race and be there at the thick end of it. That's been a highlight.
It's been a really good year. I've done a nice variety of races which, in my last year as an Under 23, is important I think. I've done the Under 23 Tour of Flanders and Paris-Roubaix, then raced in the mountains in Europe and over in the States. It's been good to do as many different races as possible to get in as much experience as I can.
This season was about getting another year stronger, becoming more consistent, and developing as a rider and as a person, before making the big step up from a Continental team to a WorldTour team. I'm 21 now, so I think this is the ideal time to be stepping up into a big team. I'm super, super excited.
My favourite victory? Definitely Liege-Bastogne-Liege. The Ardennes are my favourite Classics, and it was super inspiring to see Wout [Poels] win Liege earlier this year. Watching that pro race is always my highlight of the year, but as a rider I've always tried to get stuck into every style of racing throughout my career. I try to do a bit of everything because I think it's important to be versatile and not too one-dimensional as a rider.
I always rode a bike as a young person but purely as transport until I was about 14, when I learned about racing and started to get more and more into it. I rode a bike first, then started racing - I discovered cycling then the spirit of cycling, rather than the other way round. It's really special. It gives you the ability to leave London and go exploring - to go and find new places out in the lanes of Essex, which is pretty different to most sports.
Brad is definitely a role model, partly because he's from London and, especially when I was younger, but even now, there's not many cyclists who have any roots or links to London. That was pretty cool as a young person, that the best British rider in 2012 and '13 was from London. When I was 15/16, starting to get serious about the sport, seeing that gave me added belief.
I've always said Geraint Thomas too. How he applies himself to so many different races, does the Classics season, then goes and gets stuck into the Tour and is there throughout the year, even doing lead-outs like back at the Copenhagen Worlds [in 2011].
As a young rider growing up you really root for all the British pros watching them race, and it's super inspiring to see any of them do well, because you know they've done similar races to those you're doing well in as a Junior."
Source http://www.teamsky.com/teamsky/home/article/89055#5514eg2av25zHdfX.99

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