On the last climb, the 20-year-old riding for the Great Britain team made the final group of favourites which included his team-mate Alex Peters, stage winner Wout Poels (Sky), and new yellow jersey, Edvald Boasson Hagen (MTN-Qhubeka). However in the blustery conditions on the exposed road, Geoghegan Hart’s bike was pulled from under him when his handlebars were hooked by another rider about 4kms from the summit. He hit the deck.
Geoghegan Hart tweeted afterwards: “Taken out 4km to go when rider came up inside & hooked my bars. @alexpeters_94 & I both in front group. Broken bike meant end of GC hopes.”
Team-mate Peters said after finishing 12th, 25 seconds down on the stage: “Tao got in a tangle with a rider because the wind’s really shifty here, so everyone’s moving at that last second.
“It was really irritating because me and Tao are quite a duo I think. We could have contested for the win,” he added.
Peters said he had been hoping to help Geoghegan Hart further up the exposed climb, but after the crash, he chose to press on.
“If Tao needed some assistance I would have helped, but he fell. In the moment I kept on going because I didn't know what had happened – maybe he punctured or something and it’d take loads of time to put right.”
The crash, which broke his rear derailleur, ruined Geoghegan Hart’s chance of a high GC finish and he dropped from 15th at 22 seconds yesterday to 31st today and more than five minutes. Peters now ranks as the team’s highest placed rider in 17th place.
Peters said: “I was stuck in a group that was third on the road which is a horrible position to be in, because you’re out of the wind but there’s nothing really motivating there. I just whacked it in a big gear with a kilometre to go and just went.”
It is the second time Geoghegan Hart, who rides for the Axeon trade team in the United States, has suffered a high profile crash at the British Tour. Last year into Brighton, he entered a corner too fast and crashed spectacularly into the barriers.
At the finish today, Geoghan Hart, whose light road rash was tended by medics, was visibly upset and declined to talk to media.