Geoghegan Hart clinches third

09 Feb 2020

Geoghegan Hart clinches third

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Volta a la Comunitat Valenciana - Stage five: Paterna › Valencia, 97.7km

Tao Geoghegan Hart finished safely on the final day to secure a strong podium finish in Valencia.

The young Brit was able to cross the line in the peloton, with a bunch finish allowing him to clinch third place and one of the best stage race results of his career. With no time bonuses during the race, Geoghegan Hart occupied the same time as second-placed Jack Haig (Mitchelton-Scott), with just stage placings separating the two riders.

Tadej Pogacar (UAE Emirates) had made sure of overall victory on the steep slopes of Saturday's queen stage, in which Geoghegan Hart finished third. Six seconds proved to be the final margin of victory.

Ben Swift sprinted to 12th place on the final stage after playing a key support role during the race. The final bunch kick was won by Fabio Jakobsen (Deceuninck-Quick-Step). Gianni Moscon also impressed with 11th place overall.
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- Tao Geoghegan Hart

"With the way my programme is this year I wasn't specifically targeting this race. There's still quite a lot of time after this until my big targets for the year, so it was a pleasant surprise and a nice start to the year to build on.

"I didn't really know what to expect on the queen stage climb. I hadn't done a recon but quite a few training partners of mine had been up there having had team camps down that way. They all said it was difficult and I found it was as hard, if not harder, than the similar type of climbs I did at the Vuelta last year. Actually the whole day was really hard. We went pretty quick all day so it wasn't just the final climb. It's not every race that you do climbs that steep. In some ways I don't think it makes for the best racing, because it almost neutralises it a little bit. At the same time it did split the race up fairly well. It is what it is - the first hard climb of the year done and now onwards.

"Everyone was riding really well. For me it was a massive honour to have Swifty there in the British champ's jersey, Michal (Kwiatkowski) with the rainbow bands around his arms, and the whole team helping out. They all rallied yesterday to make sure I had a perfect position into the climb. Then they took it on and gave me a lot of confidence to believe in myself, to try and go for the stage, and with that the GC. It didn't quite happen but it wasn't too far off either, so that's a really nice start for the first race of the year."
Final standings:

1. Tadej Pogacar (UAE Team Emirates) 18:43:00
2. Jack Haig (Mitchelton-Scott)  +6"
3. Tao Geoghegan Hart (Team INEOS) s.t.
4. Dan Martin (Israel Start-Up Nation) +13"
5. Dylan Teuns (Bahrain McLaren) +23"
11. Gianni Moscon (Team INEOS) +1:19"

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