Hackney’s Geoghegan Hart in ‘crazy’ Giro D’Italia win
PUBLISHED: 12:00 28 October 2020
If the classic cult movie Mission: Impossible was about cycling then Tao Geoghegan Hart’s remarkable 2020 Giro d’Italia victory would be the perfect story line, writes Ziad Chaudry.
Hackney’s latest sporting superstar outclassed Australia’s Team Sunweb Jai Hindley Tao in a dramatic final stage Individual Time Trial shootout in Milan on Sunday to claim his maiden Grand Tour title, making him the second British rider to win the Giro d’Italia after Chris Froome’s achievement in 2018.
Both Geoghegan Hart and Hindley were on equal times but the likeable 25-year-old Team Ineos Grenadiers rider topped the final general classification by 39 seconds with Hindley’s fellow Team Sunweb colleague Wilco Kelderman in third place.
And despite losing main lead rider and pre-race favourite Geraint Thomas, the 2018 Tour De France champion, after the third stage it proved to be a successful Giro d’Italia for British-owned Team Ineos Grenadiers as Filippo Ganna claimed his fourth stage win and third time trial victory to remain unbeaten in his specialty.
Geoghegan Hart, who grew up on the Nightingale council estate, used to spend Sunday afternoons playing football at Hackney Marshes before heading to Brick Lane Market with his brother and father Tom.
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Many Sundays later he stood on the winners podium at Piazza Duomo in Milan, the fashion capital of Italy, holding aloft the Giro d’Italia trophy donned in the famous pink winners jersey. This was simply what dreams are made off.
“Until the moment I crossed the line I tried to take it like any other stage or any Sunday ride,” said a delighted Geoghegan Hart who began mastering his trade at his local Hackney Cycling Club.
“It was just about performing and seeing my family and friends at the finish. It’s been a strange year for everyone around the globe. I haven’t been home since last year and I’m looking forward to seeing my siblings. It’ll be strange to leave the team bubble. It’s amazing to be in this position as winner of the Giro d’Italia.”
After the starting the first week in 129th position overall the Hackney native stepped up a few gears claiming stages 15 and 20 before winning the overall event and adding the white jersey title for being the best young rider.
“It was impossible for me to even think about winning the Giro when we started in Sicily,” Geoghegan Hart continued. “All of my career I’ve dreamt of being top 10 or top 5 in a race like this. During the ITT my DS [Directeur Sportif] told me I was faster than Jai Hindley. When my DS told me not to take risks in the final part I understood I was close to the victory.
“Congratulations to Jai and Wilco Kelderman for their podium finish. It’s been a great fight. Right up until I reached Milan, I didn’t think I was gonna win the Giro d’Italia. It’s crazy!”
From a kid growing up on the Nightingale estate and bunking lessons at Stoke Newington School to attending a Team Sky launch in 2010 at Millbank Tower, Ineos Grenadiers head Sir Dave Balesford summed up the rags to riches story, adding: “Tao bunked off school to come and ride behind the other guys and he has gone and won a grand tour. It is the stuff of comic books really.”
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