Geoghegan Hart reflects on first WorldTour year, aims for Grand Tour in 2018

Briton ready for more after proving himself this season

Team Sky neo-pro Tao Geoghegan Hart looked back at a solid first year in the WorldTour in an interview posted on the team's website.

The 22-year-old moved from Axel Merckx's Axeon Hagens Berman squad and spent most of the year learning the nuances of top-level racing and life in one of the sport's top teams, but proved his abilities in teamwork, consistency and reliability.

"My aim with [coach] Dario [Cioni] was to be able to do my job throughout the year while being ready for any opportunities that might arise through the year – you never know when that could be," Geoghegan Hart said. "I wasn't down to do the Tour de Suisse and ended up doing that, and had an opportunity to race a bit there alongside Mikel Nieve. It was similar with the Tour of California. It was about being ready to grasp those opportunities when they came while doing my job across the year. That was my primary role."

The Briton was part of Team Sky's victorious Hammer Sportzone Limburg squad and admitted that the riders were all sceptical about the novel format of the race.

In the first day, the Hammer Climb, Geoghegan Hart marked the move of the day from Movistar's Carlos Betancur, picking up points each lap until he crashed in the closing laps. The results put Sky in a position, after Elia Viviani's solid ride in the sprint stage, to chase down Team Sunweb in the team time trial/chase event and win the overall. Geoghegan Hart said the event was enjoyable. "There was a great energy about it once we got stuck in and got over the fact it was something new and different.

"I guess it's always weird with a new race - it doesn't have the same prestige as a race that's been around for a long time. I know a lot of people watched it as well - there was a lot of people who don't usually watch racing, if at all, and they watched Hammer because it was live on Facebook, so that was interesting."

He also had strong rides in the tours of California and Yorkshire, finishing eighth overall in both stage races, and found himself humbled to have the team working for him. "As a young guy four months into my first season, it was hard for me to get my head round them working for me," he said, but added that the team's firm directions helped him correct mistakes he made. "They said it how it was and you need that sometimes to make that step forward. Plus, you remember it when someone says it straight up. Perhaps if people were a bit softer you’d do it 10 times before you rectified the mistake."

As most WorldTour neophytes discover, Geoghegan Hart said the first part of stages when breakaways are trying to get established were the hardest moments of the year. "It's a cliche you hear a lot in cycling: 'Oh it's dead hard and aggressive', but it was eye-opening there for me just how hard it was to control the race and make sure we got the scenario we needed in terms of no big team getting up the road," he said. "Looking back at some of my numbers afterwards I was like, 'Wow'. It surprised me how hard you can go in those first two hours."

After proving himself this season, Geoghegan Hart hopes to make it to the start of one Grand Tour next year.

"We will see when race programmes are decided, but I'd like to aim for the Giro [d'Italia]. It's still quite an aspirational goal, and the feeling I get is whenever it's your first one, it's difficult to get in just because you are such an unknown quantity after 10 days.

"Obviously I don't have the experience of riding a Grand Tour, but one of the great things about this year is I did almost every other kind of race: a Monument, a 10-day race in the Tour de Suisse [sic], and I got to experience all different types of races – even a race like the BinckBank Tour, racing in Belgium again for the first time since I was an under-23."

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