After his excellent first stage win in Alpbach, it was rarely in doubt that Tao Geoghegan Hart would win the Tour of the Alps. Ineos Grenadiers, led by the Londoner, dominated proceedings from the word go in order to give Geoghegan Hart his second-ever general classification victory.
Stage five was won by Simon Carr from the breakaway, meaning that Ineos could roll into Brunico unchallenged to savour a resounding win.
Speaking to the media in his post-race press conference, Geoghegan Hart explained that after allowing himself time tonight to celebrate the win with the team, his and the group’s attention would be swiftly turning towards the huge goal of Giro d’Italia victory from tomorrow.
“Everything is unique, different and special in cycling. To have every victory is a massive honour, but you’re never looking backwards that’s for sure, you have to look forwards,” Geoghegan Hart said. “You savour the moment, but basically after tomorrow it’s time to move on, look forward to the next races and the rest of the season.”
Throughout the week, the Londoner benefited from sterling work from the likes of Geraint Thomas, who could also aim for GC in the Giro. Geoghegan Hart heaped praise on all his teammates, and explained that everything had gone to plan for the group from the beginning.
“It was another solid day out there, and another amazing performance from the team,” he added. “So I’m really happy for all the boys, everyone finished the week in a great place, even better than we started, and that’s a big success along with the victory.”
With victory in the Alps chalked off, Geoghegan Hart will fly home to Andorra for some much needed rest and recuperation, before then returning to Italy for the grande partenza of the Giro on 6 May. As part of his recovery, he’ll enjoy some downtime watching Liège–Bastogne–Liège on the sofa, before turning his attention to the battles ahead.
Two of the Londoner’s teammates in the Alps, Laurens De Plus and Pavel Sivakov, flew straight to Belgium on Friday evening ready to ride La Doyenne on Sunday.
“I’ll be watching with bated breath, in anticipation of hopefully a memorable race,” Geoghegan Hart said. “I have a lot of history with that race, I was twice on the podium at under 23 level. Probably the most destroyed I’ve ever been as a professional is also at the end of that race. So good luck to everyone who’s doing it.”
“We have a super strong team lining up there…they’re really keen for it, so good luck to them as well.”
So far in 2023, Geoghegan Hart has reaped the benefits of a new training programme developed by Dajo Sanders, enjoying a solid run of results as the Giro draws near. Ineos are widely expected to deploy a similar line up at the Italian Grand Tour, enabling them to utilise the togetherness built in recent months in the brutal final week.
“It’s going to be a very big first nine days, and then a huge final week with I think three stages exceeding 5,000 metres,” he explained. “I think it’s important to enter the race fresh, and to take each day as it comes.”
“The winner of the Giro will need to be in top shape in that final week, it’s impossible not to be with how many hard stages you have.”
Any potential winner of the Giro will face a major scrap with Remco Evenepoel and Primož Roglič, two riders of the highest calibre, with the latter also happening to be bang in form. Geoghegan Hart acknowledged that the duo are the outright favourites, but backed his team to return to Italy and be competitive.
“Ineos Grenadiers turn up to races to try and win,” he said. “All big teams have that same expectation, there’s not only two teams going to the Giro.
“We’ve taken good things from this race, tomorrow we turn the page, and it’s another story to tell in terms of approaching the next goal, which is a very different goal. We’ll take it in our stride, stick together as we have done these past five days, and look forward to what the road ahead holds,” he added.
It had been a long two years for the Ineos rider, blighted by illness and injury. After bouncing back in style, the Londoner explained that he feels he is constantly improving in the hope of continuing his outstanding run of form this season.
“This sport is increasing in level all the time, so I think everyone has to improve or they’ll be left behind. I certainly always feel that I’m learning and getting better, and a big satisfaction this season has been the consistency, it’s been a good step forward.”