Tao Geoghegan Hart has taken action to improve diversity in cycling, by sponsoring a rider to join his old development team.
The British pro, winner of the 2020 Giro d’Italia, has taken a knee in a moving social media post in which he discusses the lack of diversity and inclusivity in cycling.
London-born Geoghegan Hart highlighted that while racial injustice is not unique to cycling, it is something we must face head-on.
The 25-year-old said he will be sponsoring an under-23 rider to race with his former team Hagens Berman Axeons, run by Axel Merckx, to help improve racial diversity in professional cycling.
Geoghegan Hart will work with the team to identify, coach and mentor a young rider, who will join the team on August 1.
In a post on Instagram, the Ineos Grenadiers rider said: “I am a professional cyclist, a job that I see as a huge privilege and my dream. However I also draw inspiration from outside the world of two wheels; Marcus Rashford, Lewis Hamilton, Billie Jean King, the people I grew up with in Hackney, and so many more…
“Over the past year, through these tough times, many in sport have led by example; encouraging their audiences to keep dreaming, to fight for equality, or to simply keep on keeping on. They have used their platforms to draw light to the many pressing issues we face in society.
“Cycling has a problem with diversity and inclusivity. This is a fact. It is not unique within sport, but we must face it head on all the same.
“I feel cycling has not done enough during this past year. Furthermore, I have not done enough.
“But what good are words without action?”
Following the Black Lives Matter protests in the wake of the death of George Floyd last year, existing racial injustice has been flagged in all walks of life, including in professional cycling.
While other athletes and organisations from other sports made varying gestures to highlight the injustice, cycling was fairly quiet on the issue.
The 2020 Tour de France peloton did male a small gesture of solidarity with the Black Lives Matter movement and Kévin Reza.
Reza, who races for B&B Hotels-Vital Concept, is the only black rider in last year’s edition of the Tour, and has highlighted pro cycling’s silence on Black Lives Matter, while other sports have made notable gestures of solidarity.
The Frenchman was seen near the front of the bunch in the neutralised zone of stage 21 of the Tour, but there was some confusion among fans and pundits about what the protest would involve, as some thought Reza might ride at the head of the race alone but ASO had previously announced the gesture would be Reza riding at the front with the leaders.
Since then, some welcome steps have been taken towards addressing the issue of diversity in cycling, demonstrated by the continued success of Justin Williams’ L39ion of LA team, and US rider Ayesha McGowan signing with a WorldTour team as a trainee.
Geoghegan Hart said: “I don’t have all the answers but I do know that I want live in a world that fights for social justice. A world that shares all the good that we have.
“In the meantime, I'll always look to you out there for inspiration, advice and ideas on how I can try to contribute to moving this incredible sport forward. Ultimately I can only control my own actions, but I’ll do my utmost to make that small influence as impactful as possible.”
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