By Simon Smythe
Giro d'Italia 2020 winner Tao Geoghegan Hart has thanked his original sponsor, London’s Condor Cycles, by giving them a signed maglia rosa as well as an Ineos jersey, a team Kask helmet – and one of the Condor Leggero bikes they gave him when they supported him between 2010 and 2012 as a youth and junior rider.
“In December when he was back in London he got the bike out of his shed, sent it over with the other memorabilia and we made a window display from it,” said Condor’s marketing manager Claire Beaumont.
“He wrote a message on the jersey that says ‘To Greg, Grant, Julian, Claire, Ben, Neil, Jaz – thank you for your support over the years. Love, Tao. The Saturdays gave me a lot more than just thirty five quid in my pocket… especially as I normally spent my wages before I had left the shop!’”
Geoghegan Hart won the rearranged Giro last year along with two stages, becoming only the second Briton to win the Italian Grand Tour. The 25-year-old, from Hackney in London, started working at Condor on a Saturday in 2009. “I think he came in one day and badgered them for a job,” said Beaumont.
"As he got more into racing he decided to stop working on Saturdays and he approached [managing director] Grant Young for sponsorship. He had some good youth results but because he’s such as nice person and so professional in his approach it was an easy decision.
“We provided him with road and TT bikes, wheels, and servicing from 2010 to 2012. This was an ex-team bike from the Rapha Condor team – it was Kristian House's frame. He used that bike, which is an older version of the Condor Leggero, in 2011. It is equipped with Shimano Dura-Ace and Pro components, custom Fizik Rapha Condor saddle. Tao rode the bike when he was racing for Hackney CC and also in the GB Team.”
When Geoghegan Hart got his U23 sponsorship with Axel Merckx’s team in 2014, he kept hold of the Condor bike for posterity, said Beaumont.
“We stay in contact with Tao. Grant sends him emails just to congratulate him – like when he started races like the Tour de Suisse or when he got 20th in the Vuelta in 2019 – and of course when he got to where he is now.”
Simon Smythe is Cycling Weekly's senior tech writer and has been in various roles at CW since 2003. His first job was as a sub editor on the magazine following an MA in online journalism (yes, it was just after the dot-com bubble burst).
In his cycling career Simon has mostly focused on time trialling with a national medal, a few open wins and his club's 30-mile record in his palmares. These days he spends a bit more time testing road bikes, or on a tandem doing the school run with his younger son.
What's in the stable? There's a Colnago Master Olympic, a Hotta TT700, an ex-Castorama lo-pro that was ridden in the 1993 Tour de France, a Pinarello Montello, an Independent Fabrication Club Racer, a Shorter fixed winter bike and a renovated Roberts with a modern Campag groupset.
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