For Tao Geoghegan Hart Volta ao Algarve marks not only his debut in Lidl-Trek colors but also his return to racing after the Giro d’Italia in 2023.
At the Lidl-Trek December training camp, the Team sat down with Tao and fans got a taste of the interview in our 2024 Launch video:
Now, ahead of Volta ao Algarve stage 1, it’s time to read the full interview…
How would you describe Lidl-Trek in 2024?
I think the Team feels really well-balanced for 2024 with a nice mix of riders who have a wealth of experience ready to share with those other riders who are still finding out their capabilities in the sport. We've got a really good balance between the sprint group, the guys going for the Classics and also the climbers and GC riders with some amazing support sprinkled on top of that. I think that's a really good balance to be approaching the big goals and ambitions of the Team moving forward.
I think it feels like a really nice moment. From really appreciating the depth and history of the Team. But meanwhile, with new colours and ambitions that are constantly evolving, looking to a future on the horizon that we are all excited for and striving toward.
A lot of new riders joined Lidl-Trek in 2024 but everyone seems to have gelled nicely. Is that a fair assessment?
It is a really typical question when trying to help outsiders of cycling understand how it works with 28/29 riders on the team, all of us following unique race programmes and intersecting at different points throughout the year.
That's what makes the winter camps so key, that you spend time with people that at some point you're going to race with, even if it’s not until October! We're all one big team and whilst there's those small bubbles existing within the team, we all need to work together too.
I think when you have a group kind of gelling well together that's only, obviously, going to help us achieve our collective goals as we pass through the season.
If you look back at the last year and everything that has happened, what is the biggest takeaway that you are now bringing into this team?
It’s been super exciting for me to be back in the environment of a team full stop having been half a year away from cycling, a life I’ve been so accustomed to in the last 15 years. I missed that dynamic of being in the group and with your teammates. And here there's 61 teammates together which is really special. Seeing all the teams mixing at dinner - we have two birthdays [Mads Pedersen’s and Lizzie Deignan’s] going on today on camp - and different things happening, it is really nice to be a part of that and to get to know people better.
I love meeting new people and understanding more about their culture and everyone's journey that has got them to this point. The nice thing in cycling is there's a lot of people that I've come across at different moments through my career and you get to know them better and I look forward to racing with them. For me, it is like really a sense of excitement after that period of dreaming to be back in this scenario, to now be here and appreciate that.
What does a successful 2024 look like to you?
I think having the ability at the end of the season to look back and be really proud of the adventure of coming into a new team and a new environment. Having some performances where I can say that everything really clicked that day and all the work I did, whether that be through the rehab or through the winter on the bike, all came together and was shown in that moment. Being able to look back and really feel proud that that whole journey culminated in those performances is key. It’s going to take a lot of hard work still and that's, you know, something that it is always an unknown but I'm excited for that.
That’s kind of the adventure of any season, you start again from zero. You pin the number on the back of your jersey, and you don't know what that season's going to hold. You know in cycling we go from one place to the next, one race to the next but it's just about feeling the momentum and the progress and absorbing the ups and downs along the way.