Tao Geoghegan Hart, guest of the week at Cafe Roubaix
20-year-old Tao Geoghegan Hart is riding his second season with Axeon Cycling, the team managed by former pro Axel Merckx, which throughout the years has put many riders on the World Tour map. Since joining the US-based squad, the Hackney-born rider – touted by many to be a future Grand Tour winner – got to take part in big events, like the Tour of California, the Tour of Utah and the Tour of Britain, as well as in some of the most prestigious U23 races out there: Paris-Roubaix, Liège-Bastogne-Liège, Tour de l’Avenir.
Each time, the British cyclist – who remained down to earth, despite his impressive showing – has made the most out of it, gaining experience, strengthening his confidence and scoring some nice results, which more than sure brought him on the radar of the important Pro teams. Recently, I caught up with Tao Geoghegan Hart and got to ask him a couple of questions about his 2015 campaign and the targets he has for the second half of the year.
– Tao, you’re halfway into your second season with Axeon Cycling. How was this experience?
It has been a good year so far. We have some new riders from last year, but developed a really good group straight away, which I think showed as we had results right from the first race of the season. The biggest difference has been the return of our brilliant Head Soigneur Reed McCalvin. He works tirelessly for his riders and I really enjoy being able to work with him.
– How did Axel Merckx and the Axeon project help you develop since joining them?
The team exposes its riders to a very high calibre of racing, for instance this year with California, Utah and the US Pro Challenge, we will have 24 days of 2.HC racing. This is combined with 2.2 and U23 races in Europe to give us a great variation of races in which to develop. From the climbing races to something like the U23 Paris-Roubaix, we have the opportunity to experience a wide variety of race days.
– What are the differences you’ve noticed between the European peloton and the US one?
The obvious difference is the size of the roads and how this affects the peloton. The racing in the States can be more relaxed, but not always, with some Criteriums and also tighter circuits in the American NRC races.
– You raced many big races, so I’d like to know what caught your attention while riding against the pros?
It is a very different style of race. I think switching between the U23 races and big Pro races is something that keeps us on our toes and shows us how different races can be, not necessarily in the terrain, but in the way that they are ridden and controlled.
– What’s the biggest lesson you’ve learnt so far?
I don’t think there is one thing to pinpoint. It’s all a lesson and I think the most important thing is to constantly try to absorb both experiences and information. There is always something to learn, so it is an ongoing process.
– In terms of results, which would you say that was your highlight?
I was pleased with my top 20 in the individual time trial of the Tour of California. My TT isn’t something I have had a huge opportunity to develop and I feel I have a lot of room for improvement with my position and training on the TT bike. However, my TT’s in races are improving almost every time I race, so that is reassuring for me.
– In what races will you go in the following weeks?
The first week of July I took a mid-season break. I will have a training block through the remainder of July and then race the Tour of Utah in August.
– And what goals do you have?
To keep improving. I would like to continue to target the GC in big stage races and improve upon my results so far in 2015.