Team Sky celebrated Tao Geoghegan Hart‘s stage win at the Tour of the Alps, with everyone happy to see the young British rider land his first professional victory and take the first leader’s jersey. Team Sky has four potential leaders for the five-day race, including Chris Froome, and seem determined to win as much as possible in the countdown to the end of Team Sky and the transformation into Team Ineos on May 1 next week.
Geoghegan Hart, Froome, Kenny Elissonde and Pavel Sivakov celebrated together just beyond the finish line in Kufstein, Austria. They all finished in the select group of 21 riders that formed on the last climb and now have a numerical advantage in the four remaining stages.
“It’s a super good first victory for Tao. That’s a big deal for a young rider,” directeur sportif Nicolas Portal explained, careful to praise all his riders.
“He raced well with Pavel in the attack and the dynamic in the team was good too. When the rest of the peloton came back, there was no need to talk, Kenny and other guys went on the front and pulled. It was our goal to be ready on day one because in this race there’s no long mountain finish or time trial, so someone has to create a winning move. It’s cool that they can do that.”
Portal believes Geoghegan Hart can defend the cyclamen-coloured leader’s jersey in the hilly stages into Italy but Sivakov, Elissonde and Froome could be alternatives in the expected aggressive racing.
“Last year Tao was brilliant in the Dauphine in a similar situation, he was the last rider there with G (Geraint Thomas) in the mountains. He’s capable of climbing with the best. Stage 2 is 180km but then the other days are shorter at 130km with lots of climbing, we’ll see what happens,” the French directeur sportif said.
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