Tao Geoghegan Hart has spoken of the “bizarre” feeling of becoming the fifth Briton to win a Grand Tour with victory in the Giro d’Italia for Team Ineos Grenadiers, whose general manager hailed the win “the stuff of comic books”.
The 25-year-old pulled on the pink jersey for the first time on the final podium in Milan after a dramatic closing weekend of the race, which saw he and Team Sunweb’s Jai Hindley – two riders not considered contenders at the outset – starting the last stage level on time, an unprecedented situation in a Grand Tour.
Speaking to Eurosport after his victory, Geoghegan Hart said: “It’s bizarre, to be honest. Not in my wildest dreams did I imagine that this would be possible when we started almost a month ago in Sicily.
“I think all of my career I’ve dreamt of trying to be top five or top 10 maybe in a race of this stature. This is something completely different to that and I think it’s going to take a long time to sink in.
“My DS [directeur sportif] told me I was 10 seconds up, and then he kept giving me a few seconds. I only knew we must be in a pretty good situation when he was screaming at me not to take any risks in the last kilometre. It’s not often your DS tells you to slow down that much in a 15km TT, but I also knew the work was done up to that point.”
Hindley, who finished 39 seconds back in second, said: “Of course it’s super-disappointing to lose a race on the last day like that. At the moment it’s pretty hard to take but I think when I look back I’ll be super-proud of the team and how I rode.
“It’s a massive step forward in my career and it’s three weeks I’ll never forget. I think as a team, actually we didn’t put a foot wrong all race to be honest. Tonight? I think I’ll put the feet up for a bit, maybe sink a few cheeky bevvies.”
Ineos general manager Sir Dave Brailsford spoke of the way Geoghegan Hart’s situation in the team changed following Geraint Thomas’s enforced withdrawal after stage three following a heavy crash: “He grew into the role. There was no pressure on him, it was an adventure every day, but there was a moment, to be fair to him, when he switched from being: ‘Maybe.’ You could see a switch going off in his head and he said: ‘I can do this.’
“The story I like about Tao is the fact he bunked off school to come and ride behind the other guys. It was his dream to be a pro bike rider, coming into the team, and he’s gone and won a Grand Tour. It’s the stuff of comic books really.
Geoghegan Hart was ahead of Hindley at every time check throughout the final 15.7km time trial, clocking a time of 18 min 19.40secs to confirm his remarkable win. Asked about his future following such a high-profile victory, he said: “I’m just going to enjoy this. it’s incredible, really incredible.
“I’m going to stay the same person, I’m going to stay as professional as I believe I always have been. Dedicated, wake up every day looking forward to riding my bike, loving my life and being grateful for the amazing position, the privilege, that I’m in to be in this team and at these races.”
Geoghegan Hart follows Sir Bradley Wiggins, Chris Froome, Thomas and Simon Yates in winning one of the big three stage races on the calendar, delivering Britain’s 11th Grand Tour victory since Wiggins won the Tour de France in 2012, and second in the Giro after Froome won in 2018. Hindley’s Sunweb teammate Wilco Kelderman rounded off the podium, finishing 1min 29sec behind the victor.