Tao Geoghegan Hart (Great Britain) was left disappointed with that he called his 'worst time trial of the year' at the UCI Road World Championships in Bergen, but the British talent will take plenty of positives from what has been a hugely successful season for the first-year professional.
Geoghegan Hart was a late substitute in the time trial after Stephen Cummings withdrew from selection last week and Geoghegan Hart struggled over the demanding terrain in Norway after an early crash. He battled through to take clock the provisional 14th best time on the line but admitted he had been well off the pace.
"To be honest it was one of my least well executed time trials of the year," Geoghegan Hart told Cyclingnews after a brief stop in the medical tent to patch up his wounds.
"I didn't really get on top of it and I woke up with a tight chest and never really felt good breathing. I was hoping to get over it from the warm-up and I was trying to do the best ride I could but it was pretty poor.
"There were a couple of corners with some bumpy lines and the tarmac is ridged. I just overcooked it and lost the front wheel. I think the course suited me and I quite liked it. There were a lot of draggy climbs and the hard one to finish but I would say it's my least well ridden time trial of the year, which is disappointing given the stage that this is on."
Coming in at the last minute was not the most ideal preparation for the Team Sky rider but he will return on Sunday for the men's road race.
"I probably couldn't have done much different because I was racing," he said in relation to his preparation. "I did a couple of sessions last week and they were alright. I did some testing on a climb which went well. That gave me confidence but I just couldn't get it together on the day."
Despite the result, Geoghegan Hart has had a strong debut season at WorldTour. Young riders have been known to struggle in their debut campaigns at Team Sky but the Londoner has made the most of opportunities and picked up several impressive results while also working for his teammates.
His purple patch came in the mid-season when he finished eighth in the Tour of Yorkshire, eighth in the Tour of California, and won the debut Hammer Series with his teammates.
"It's been great and I've loved it. I've had amazing support from the team and a great race programme. It was really special to do races like the Basque Country and the Ardennes. Also to go to things like Yorkshire with a leadership role, and California and Suisse has been great. I've raced a lot and got a lot of exposure in different types of races and the team has really focused on development. This winter I'm excited about stepping up, getting a couple more per cent out and moving forwards."
For his second season, Geoghegan Hart would like to break into Team Sky's Grand Tour line-up. With teams limited to eight riders in three-week races next season, the task is certainly not an easy one but the rider believes it's an attainable aim and has drawn on one specific teammate as an inspiration.
"You can have your own ideas but really it comes down to how you perform. We've seen how Gianni [Moscon] is a bit of an inspiration. He's gone into his first Grand Tour and nailed it from day one to day 21. Next year I'd really like to aim for a Grand Tour," Geoghegan Hart said. "With eight man teams it makes it a bit difficult but you've got to aim at being the fourth or fifth name on the list and not the eighth. I'll just keep pushing."
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Daniel Benson is the Editor in Chief at both Cyclingnews.com and BikePerfect.com. Based in the UK, he has worked within cycling for almost 15 years, and he joined the Cyclingnews team in 2008 as the site's first UK-based Managing Editor. In that time, he has reported on over a dozen editions of the Tour de France, several World Championships, the Tour Down Under, Spring Classics, and the London 2012 Olympic Games. With the help of the excellent editorial team, he runs the coverage on Cyclingnews and has interviewed leading figures in the sport including UCI Presidents and Tour de France winners.
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