Team Sky’s Tao Geoghegan Hart has taken his first professional victory at today’s opening stage of the Tour of the Alps in Austria.
The 24-year-old from Hackney took the sprint from at the end of the 144-kilometre stage which started and finished in Kufstein after earlier helping shut down an attack on the final climb of the Hinterthiersee by Bahrain-Merida’s Vincenzo Nibali.
— Team Sky (@TeamSky) April 22, 2019
After today’s win, which also saw him installed as this year’s overall leader after the first stage, he said: “"It was a beautiful day and a beautiful parcours. I’m really happy to take my first professional win here in Austria.
"It was a headwind over the top of the climb which was a shame but it was really close the finish, but also with some riding to go over the plateau before the final kilometres.
“It was kind of a mix between committing with having two guys at the front and also always thinking about the finish.”
Three other Team Sky riders were in the 21-strong front group that contested the finish more than 1 minute ahead of their closest pursuers – Chris Froome, Kenny Elissonde and Pavel Sivarov.
"I think we have a strong team here, we showed that with four guys across the line at the finish in the front group,” said Geoghegan Hart.
“We have Froomey here, he’s one of the biggest riders in the world so we support him as much as we can.
“We have some nice cards to play in the next couple of days and I’m looking forward to this Tour of the Alps."
The five-day race, now in its 43rd edition, was known as the Giro del Trentino until 2017 when it was renamed to reflect the fact it now spans the Tyrol-South Tyrol-Trentino Euroregion which straddles the Austro-Italian border.
Traditionally a warm-up race for the Giro d’Italia, Team Sky won the overall for three years in a row from 2015-17 through Richie Porte, Mikkel Landa and Geraint Thomas, the sequence broken last year when Groupama-FDJ’s Thibaut Pinot triumphed.
Despite his youth, Geoghegan Hart, who joined Team Sky in 2017 from Axeon Hagens Berman – he’d previously had a spell as a stagiaire with the British UCI WorldTour outfit in 2015 – has had some impressive overall results in stage races.
Last year, he was fifth overall at the Tour of California, improving on his seventh place the previous year, and also finished fifth at the Vuelta a Burgos and 13th at the Criterium du Dauphiné.
Born in Scotland, Simon moved to London aged seven and now lives in the Oxfordshire Cotswolds with his miniature schnauzer, Elodie. He fell in love with cycling one Saturday morning in 1994 while living in Italy when Milan-San Remo went past his front door. A daily cycle commuter in London back before riding to work started to boom, he's been news editor at road.cc since 2009. Handily for work, he speaks French and Italian. He doesn't get to ride his Colnago as often as he'd like, and freely admits he's much more adept at cooking than fettling with bikes.