Tao Geoghegan Hart is heading into the "unknown", as he prepares to make his Lidl-Trek debut at the Volta ao Algarve this week, his first race in nine months after crashing out of the Giro d'Italia.
The British rider was left with a broken femur after the serious crash in May 2023, which meant he had to complete months of rehabilitation. In the off-season, he moved to Lidl-Trek from from Ineos Grenadiers.
The 28-year-old will start the Portuguese stage race on Wednesday, marking a huge step forward in his comeback. Geoghegan Hart will lead the line for Lidl-Trek this summer at the Tour de France, sharing leadership responsibilities with Mads Pedersen.
Ahead of the race in the Algarve, Geoghegan Hart said that he was relishing being back in a team environment after spending months rebuilding his strength post injury, in an interview released by the team.
“It’s been super exciting for me to be back in the environment of a team full stop having been half a year away from cycling, a life I’ve been so accustomed to in the last 15 years," he said. "I missed that dynamic of being in the group and with your teammates.”
Geoghegan Hart inked a three-year deal at Lidl-Trek after seven years with Ineos during which time he won the Giro d’Italia in 2020 and the Tour of the Alps last year. He explained that he was looking forward to racing alongside new faces, as well as more familiar ones, in Lidl-Trek colours this year.
“I love meeting new people and understanding more about their culture and everyone's journey that has got them to this point,” he said. “The nice thing in cycling is there's a lot of people that I've come across at different moments throughout my career and you get to know them better and I look forward to racing with them.
“For me, it is like really a sense of excitement after that period of dreaming to be back in this scenario, to now be here and appreciate that."
Geoghegan Hart was in strong form prior to his crash at the Giro last year, which ended his season. His comeback race and season comes with little expectation or pressure from the team, but instead a step on the way back to full fitness and form.
“I think having the ability at the end of the season to look back and be really proud of the adventure of coming into a new team and a new environment,” he said when describing what a successful 2024 would look like.
“Having some performances where I can say that everything really clicked that day and all the work I did, whether that be through the rehab or through the winter on the bike, all came together and was shown in that moment.”
“Being able to look back and really feel proud that that whole journey culminated in those performances is key,” he added. “It’s going to take a lot of hard work still and that's, you know, something that is always an unknown but I'm excited for that.
“That’s kind of the adventure of any season, you start again from zero. You pin the number on the back of your jersey, and you don't know what that season's going to hold.
"You know in cycling we go from one place to the next, one race to the next but it's just about feeling the momentum and the progress and absorbing the ups and downs along the way.”
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