He's known about his move to the United States for over a month, but British youngster Tao Geoghegan Hart is still thrilled by the prospect of stepping up from the junior ranks at the Bontrager development team next season, a move which was announced earlier today.
"I signed a contract about a month ago, and for even longer I've held aspirations that it could be a possibility," he told Cycling Weekly. "It is really exciting times and I'm looking forward to getting stuck in."
The Hackney-based 18 year old has enjoyed a breakthrough season on the road this year, despite a disappointing end to his bid for junior world championships glory when his chain snapped two weeks ago in Florence.
He finished third in the junior Paris-Roubaix in April and dominated the Giro della Lunigiana in early September, helping his teammates and Great Britain to success in the Junior Nations Cup.
Faced with a number of options, including applying to join British Cycling's track-based Olympic Academy Programme (OAP), Geoghegan Hart has decided that his future lies on the road.
"It was more [a case of] deciding which path I want to take," he added. "I want to concentrate on the road; that's where my biggest goals lie."
The Bontrager development team, which will be sponsored by Bissell in 2014, is run by Axel Merckx and is one of the most respected U23 teams around, nurturing the likes of Taylor Phinney (BMC), Joe Dombrowski and Ian Boswell (Sky), as well as being home to Alex Dowsett in 2010.
"Alex Dowsett gave me a lot of advice and he's a good friend of mine, so it was cool to be able to speak with him," said Geoghegan Hart. "It was good because we could talk about little things like visas and health insurance and all the things in America that you don't really consider.
"That was never really an issue; I knew as soon as Axel was interested [in me] that this was what I wanted to do."
Geoghegan Hart has joined on a one year deal, during which time he hopes to fully embrace the life of a first year espoir domestique.
"I'm looking forward to trying to see where I can push myself and to see what I can get out of it," he said. "I'll try and ride for the team and do as much as I can for some of the older guys and just take any opportunity that comes my way; whether that's team success, working for someone, getting bottles...anything!"
Tao Geoghegan Hart signs for Bontrager development team
Mathieu Van der Poel wins junior world championships road race
Tao Geoghegan Hart dominates Giro della Lunigiana
Tao Geoghegan Hart third in Junior Paris-Roubaix
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Richard Abraham is an award-winning writer, based in New Zealand. He has reported from major sporting events including the Tour de France and Olympic Games, and is also a part-time travel guide who has delivered luxury cycle tours and events across Europe. In 2019 he was awarded Writer of the Year at the PPA Awards.
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