‘We definitely have a few cards to play’: Geoghegan Hart backs strong Ineos Grenadiers team to perform at Vuelta a España

Ineos Grenadiers are taking four debutants to Spanish Grand Tour in mix of youth and experience

Tao Geoghegan Hart
(Image credit: Getty Images)

Tao Geoghegan Hart believes Ineos Grenadiers can mount a strong challenge at the Vuelta a España, despite the British team taking four Grand Tour debutants to the Spanish race.

Richard Carapaz, Dylan van Baarle, Pavel Sivakov and Geoghegan Hart make up the experience in the team whereas Ben Turner, Carlos Rodriguez, Ethan Hayter and Luke Plapp are all making their Grand Tour debuts.

At the Ineos Grenadiers press conference on Wednesday, the 2020 Giro d'Italia winner Geoghegan Hart said that the exciting Ineos line up means they can challenge when racing gets underway this Friday. 

“We definitely have a few good cards to play, I would say that there are bigger favourites outside of our team but we’re looking forward to the next few weeks," he said. 

“I think we have a strong team with eight super strong guys on different terrain. The last few years have shown that some of the Grand Tours can be quite open with really dynamic racing.  That’s something our team has pursued in the last few seasons and the best races I’ve been a part of are those when every rider has a valued role to play in a team."

The Londoner missed the Giro d’Italia this year due to illness and admitted he had been side lined by other illnesses earlier this season

“There wasn’t too much rearranging as the plan for me always finished at the Giro," Geoghegan Hart added. "So it was more just about resetting goals. I got pretty sick after the Basque Country, that was the third virus for me in the space of less than two months so it wasn’t ideal. 

“I was on antibiotics, so it just wasn’t realistic to go into the Giro in good shape especially after a spring of basically being off of the bike three times for a week. I think that’s a pretty familiar story that a lot of people in the peloton and in wider society have gone through in the last 12 months.

"Unfortunately I then got another stomach virus in the week before the Tour of Norway so that was tough again.”  

The 27-year-old recently rode the Clásica de San Sebastián and Vuelta a Burgos with the latter being won by teammate Pavel Sivakov. Geoghegan Hart admitted that on the final day of the pre-Vuelta stage race he didn’t feel at his best, although the successful result for the team was the ideal build up to the coming weeks. 

“It was a pretty short training block before Burgos. San Sebastian was good at opening up the legs to then try to prepare for Burgos. It’s a really good race there to prepare for the Vuelta.” 

“I think we had a really nice group there [Burgos] and we had a nice feeling. Obviously we won that race and then Ethan [Hayter] won in Poland as well. So almost everyone here is coming off of those two races which were super successful for the team," he concluded.

“I felt good and was there or thereabouts every day so that was good and I’ll just look at trying to progress at the Vuelta although it’s obviously a long three weeks.” 

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