Tao Geoghegan Hart, a young Londoner connected to Scottish and Irish ancestry, became the second Briton on the Giro list on Sunday, two years after his elder Chris Froome.
Tao - pronounced Tayo, which means "silence" in Gaelic - fits perfectly into the intersection of influences from London, the trendy metropolis, even if it has been established for several years in Gerona, Catalonia.
By his quickdraw, his red-haired hair color, his ease and his sense of repartee, much more than by his technical profile, he is close to another Londoner, Bradley Wiggins, the first English winner of the Tour de France in 2012.
By his penchant for the fashions of the moment too: passionate about coffee, he travels with his personal percolator and talks endlessly, on his website, on the nature of the beans and filters used.
At 25, Geoghegan Hart perfectly embodies the “trendy” cycling of the English-speaking world, interested in competition and the new forms of business that accompany it.
The oldest of five siblings, the winner of the Giro 2020 grew up in Hackney, a district east of the capital.
His father, a bricklayer with half Irish and half Scottish origins, works very hard.
He touches on different sports, football of course, swimming too.
At 13, he was the youngest member of a relay that swam across the Channel.
But he chooses cycling, a sport that allows young categories not to depend on others, within the Hackney Cycling Club Keir Apperley, his first club.
- Stubborn and perfectionist -
His stubborn, perfectionist character is noticed.
"We took care of him when he was a junior by providing him with bicycles, but also for a Saturday job in the store during the winter, so that he had some money," Greg Needham told The Guardian. , from the bicycle manufacturer Condor.
"We knew he had something: he was super motivated and focused."
Geoghegan Hart, whose surname is explained by his Irish ancestry, feels the trail like any good British hope.
However, he prefers the road, even if it means temporarily moving away from the wide open sector in front of him after promising first results (silver medalist at the European junior championships).
It was in the team of Axel Merckx, a great talent breeder, that he entered the hopeful category in 2014.
Two years later, he interned at Sky and fully integrated Dave Brailsford's team in 2017. In a supporting role to begin with, but he quickly stood out.
In 2018, he contributed greatly to the victory of Welshman Geraint Thomas in the Dauphiné.
The same year he took part in his first grand tour, the Vuelta, discovered the Giro the following year (fractured collarbone and 13th stage abandonment), a few days after winning two stages in the Tour des Alpes, and returned in 2020 with ardor on the Tour of Italy.
"I really liked the Giro", he said at the beginning of the year in light of the 2019 edition won by Ecuadorian Richard Carapaz.
"There are a lot more opportunities than in the Tour de France," he added.
History has proven him right.
© 2020 AFP