Sir Dave Brailsford believes Giro d’Italia winner Tao Geoghegan Hart is at the forefront of a new generation of cyclists bringing “more aggressive” racing to the sport.
Geoghegan Hart was a shock winner of the Giro on Sunday in delivering Britain’s 11th Grand Tour victory since Sir Bradley Wiggins won the Tour de France in 2012.
The 25-year-old Londoner started the event as a support rider for Geraint Thomas before the Welshman’s race-ending crash on stage three saw him become the Ineos Grenadiers’ main man.
“Tao has always been very talented since he was very young,” team boss Brailsford told BBC Breakfast.
“He’s very dedicated, works hard and has got his feet on the ground. He’s a brilliant racer, and that’s what I like about Tao.
“In cycling you can have the physical engine, but you’ve got to be able to race. Tao is a great racer, he really is, and he’s part of this new generation of young guys coming through.
“They are racing more aggressively and more openly with a bit of flair and a bit of panache.”
Geoghegan Hart pulled on the pink jersey for the first time on the final podium in Milan after a dramatic closing weekend to the race.
Team Sunweb’s Jai Hindley had taken pink as Geoghegan Hart won stage 20 on Saturday, but got to wear it for only 18 minutes in the race as the Briton beat the Australian by 39 seconds over the closing 15.7kilometre time trial.
“The race [time trial] took only about 18 minutes,” Brailsford said. “But it’s one of the longest 18 minutes I’ve had for a while.
“The way he managed himself through the entire race you thought: ‘Okay, he might be able to do this’. He kept going day by day, he didn’t get ahead of himself and rode beautifully.
“Losing Geraint was a real blow to the team, but they all bounced back unbelievably well. In the 21 days we won seven stages and Tao won the whole thing. It’s the most successful Grand Tour we’ve ever had.”
Geoghegan Hart, the youngest Briton to win a Grand Tour, will now take a break before the start of the 2021 season.
“The trick for Tao is if he can keep on being the same person up to this point it will take him a very long way forward,” Brailsford said.
“We’ve had pretty good success from British riders in recent times. The generation of Chris Froome and Geraint Thomas are coming to the twilight of their careers, but there’s a host of riders bursting on the scene. It’s very exciting times for us.”
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