Tao Geoghegan Hart is winning, on Thursday taking his second Tour of the Alps stage win, and “learning a lot” from his super-helper, Sky team-mate Chris Froome.
Geoghegan Hart sprinted ahead of Vincenzo Nibali (Bahrain-Merida) in Cles after helping Pavel Sivakov keep his leader’s purple jersey in the stage. It came after Froome pulled for the duo on the mountain pass and helped them ride clear with Nibali and Rafał Majka (Bora-Hansgrohe).
>> Subscribe to Cycling Weekly this Autumn and save 35%. Enjoy the luxury of home delivery and never miss an issue <<
“I don’t get many chances to do races on this level, it’s a huge difference,” Geoghegan Hart said. “Often, maybe not here so much with Vincenzo and Rafał, but often the guys who are leaders in these races are domestiques when it comes to the big races, so it’s massive to have the chance and make the most of it.
“We are in an amazing situation where we have a certain Chris Froome also helping us. It’s an incredible honour for Pavel and I’m learning a lot from him. It’s my first race ever with him so it’s really special.”
Geoghegan Hart trained at altitude with Froome ahead of the race in the Italian Alps. In their first day together, he won stage one on Monday, his first professional win, and took the leader’s jersey. After working for Sivakov, he won his second professional win.
The 24-year-old already had experience of racing in a Grand Tour, the 2018 Vuelta a España, but now he has experience winning. It could “definitely” help him in the next level at the Giro d’Italia next month riding for Egan Bernal.
“I don’t know if it can be so specific like that but in a generalisation, definitely. And you also have to practice. Everything,” he continued.
“Just this morning on the bus, Froome and I were talking about the total time that he gives to the press in one Tour de France, it’s huge, maybe an hour a day almost for the stages when he’s in yellow, then you have doping control.
“This whole process of things that you never practice as a domestique. You have your routine dialled in on the bus once you finish the stage, but to practice all those things is important. And to practice winning and the mindset is really important.
“It was really fresh for me on stage one on stage one to visualise how I was going to win and plan it because I hadn’t done that in quite a long time. And then today again, a similar thing and it was great.”
Nibali, winner of all three Grand Tours, was impressed with Geoghegan Hart.
“Bravo!” Nibali said when asked of Geoghegan Hart. “He was already showing strong, winning Lunigiana [in 2013], he was already strong. We knew he was one to watch. And he had a free card here to express himself here in the Tour of the Alps.”