The 23-year-old will be striving to achieve 'as much as possible'

Tao Geoghegan Hart will embark upon his first Grand Tour on Saturday as the Vuelta a España kicks off, and he says he won’t be racing ‘just for experience.’

The 23-year-old from London’s Hackney joined Team Sky as a stagiaire at the end of the 2015 season, taking a permanent role in 2017 – after choosing to spend another year with American Continental team Axeon-Hagens Berman in the interim.

This year, he supported Geraint Thomas to a Critérium du Dauphiné win, also taking fifth overall at the Tour of California.

In a release on Team Sky’s website, Geoghegan Hart commented: “I’m excited to get to Malaga and get stuck in”, adding “it’s a case of keeping an open mind and being ready to make the most of it.”

>>> The rise of Tao Geoghegan Hart: British prodigy’s long road to Team Sky

Though he’s keen to take lessons during what will be the longest race of his life, he’s not about to talk down his chances of personal success, either.

“I’m ready to learn a lot and gain new experiences but not feel like that’s the limitation of the race and the three weeks.”

“I’ll be striving for as much as possible and looking to make the most of it” he said, adding “going to the race and saying it’s just for experience or to try and finish would be a massive oversight and loss of opportunity. In the end what you have is what you have, but definitely go in with big ambitions and see what’s possible.”

Geoghegan Hart – who was amongst the crowds at Team Sky’s launch back in 2010 – missed out on selection last year, with the UK outfit opting to take a juggernaut squad to support Chris [Froome] to the win.

However, he now accepts that the disappointment provided motivation which has brought him to readiness in 2018.

“Knowing I was close [last year] was already a good step in the right direction,” he said “I was confident enough in January and February [2018] to make La Vuelta my big goal of the year. It feels like a fairly natural progression, step by step, and I think it’s important.”

“There was no need to have rushed it or gone for it before I was ready and the team, management and coaching staff felt like it was the right time.”