Bradley Wiggins hopes Tao Geoghegan Hart will put himself forward and get the chance to lead Ineos Grenadiers in the near future after his impressive Giro d’Italia victory.
Ineos started the Giro with Geraint Thomas as their leader and then turned their attentions to stage wins after he crashed out. Ineos' Ben Swift even admitted they only focused on overall victory on the penultimate day of the race.
However, after announcing himself on the big stage, Wiggins hopes Tao will now get more opportunities, even though it might not be in his nature to push for it.
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"He’s just the nicest guy," said Wiggins, speaking on Eurosport’s ‘The Breakaway’.
"He’s never once said he’s going to do this. He just wanted to be a professional cyclist and emulate his heroes and be in Team Sky. There was no other team for him.
In some ways, he’ll think he’s not worthy of it and doesn’t really deserve it. He won’t change from this, this will do him. He’ll retire happy now if he wanted to. That’s my worry.
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"I hope he kicks on from this and gets the opportunity to do it in the Tour de France and we can talk about him for the next 10 years. He’s happy to be submissive and he’ll ride for Geraint Thomas next year, Adam Yates and Egan Bernal but he’s a worthy, worthy champion and everything this country needs as a role model in sport.
"Much like Geraint Thomas and Chris Froome, but this guy is young. I hope Tao gets his reward and his standing in this sport. What a contrast to the Ineos team at the Tour de France we were talking about.
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My worry is that Tao will naturally play second fiddle to those guys. He will always see a job for Geraint or [Richard] Carapaz as more important because that’s the modesty he carries with him. He will naturally not see himself as worthy of this, that it’s been given to him, and that is a contradiction to the confidence that he rode with.
Tao started the final day level in the standings with Hindley but rode strongly in the time trial to finish 39 seconds ahead of his rival. Wiggins said the Ineos rider “executed to perfection”.
"He didn’t waver, he didn’t look nervous, he just looked how he’s looked for the last 10 days of this race. Extremely focused, relaxed, confident in the job he had to do. He just kept it simple, he didn’t over-complicate it in stage 21.
"He wasn’t defeatist but he wasn’t arrogant at the same time. He was quietly confident and that displayed in his body language, the way he rode that time trial, and it worked for him. He won by a bigger margin than I thought he would."