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Tao Geoghegan Hart, one of the most promising young British Continental riders has signed a two year contract with Team Sky, elevating him to the WorldTour level.
The 21-year-old rider has been racing with Axel Merckx’s Axeon Hagens Berman squad for the past two seasons, and was with Merckx’s Bissel Development Cycling for a year before that.
In that time he has marked himself out as a major talent. As a first year under 23 rider he was tenth overall in the Tour de l’Avenir in 2014, and finished third in the under 23 Liège-Bastogne-Liège in 2014 and 2015.
This year he won the Trofeo Piva, the national under 23 road race championships and a stage in the Tour de Savoie Mont Blanc. He was also second overall in the latter and in the Under 23 Course de la Paix.
Other results in 2016 include sixth overall and best young rider in the Tour of the Gila, sixth overall in the Volta ao Alentejo and 12th overall in both the Tour of California and the Tour of Utah.
He competed as a stagiaire with Team Sky last autumn and was rumoured to have been offered a contract, but decided to spend another year with Axeon Hagens Berman.
“This season was about getting another year stronger, becoming more consistent, and developing as a rider and as a person, before making the big step up from a Continental team to a WorldTour team,” he explained. “I’m 21 now, so I think this is the ideal time to be stepping up into a big team. I’m super, super excited.”
As a 14 year old he attended Team Sky’s launch day in January 2010 and now, six and a half years later, his graduation to the team is official.
He sees logic in his decision to sign for the squad rather than another. “There are guys here who have come through a similar path to me and also have a background on the track. I was on British Cycling’s programme up until the age of 18 when I went to Axeon, so these are riders that I have looked up to for a very long time.
“To be team-mates with them is very exciting, and hopefully it will make the step up into being a WorldTour rider a little bit easier.”
Team Sky Principal Dave Brailsford said that the team had been tracking his progress for a long time. “We obviously had him with us as a stagiaire at the end of last year. He’s continued to show real progress this season and we’re delighted he’ll be taking the next steps in his career with Team Sky.
“Tao is another exciting addition to the group of young, talented British riders we have at Team Sky.”
Learn more about Sky’s new signing here: Faces of the Future: Eight things to know about Tao Geoghegan Hart