Tao Geoghegan Hart questions behaviour of fellow pro cyclists: "Are riders afraid to express themselves, to be creative and to stand out?"

Tao Geoghegan Hart resumed racing today at the Volta ao Algarve after several months away from competition. Having only been a spectator of the sport since May, the former Giro d'Italia winner has let out impactful words on how he feels there is a lack of personalities in the peloton.

"In the last months I read and listened countless times to talk of a new cycling, a different model, the changes we need to make. I love cycling and I love its history. And I’m so excited to be back racing this time tomorrow (this Wednesday, ed.)," Hart wrote in an Instagram post. "I have been an outsider the last eight months and one thing I have reflected upon, is how homogenous the sport is becoming at times."

"2024 supposedly sees us more connected than ever. And yet it feels as though cycling is becoming more bland. Are riders afraid to express themselves, to be creative and to stand out? Sometimes it just feels like endless identical Instagram photos. And that 'communication' is just a proxy for promotion."

Whilst the likes of Tadej Pogacar and Mathieu van der Poel have become superstars, and figures which transcend the sport and are well known worldwide, it could be argued that it lacks figures such as Lance Armstrong and Peter Sagan who had even bigger fame in their prime. Hart believes that a lot of this comes down to riders keeping their images more clean, in benefit of themselves and the brands they represent.

"Maybe it’s the ever more brutal fight for employment in the peloton, probably it’s a microcosm for the world we live in, or perhaps it’s how we’re expected to conform as athletes, showing no chinks in our shiny armour. If I was a sponsor I’d want something different. Something more real," the Briton admits however. Leading Lidl-Trek this year, he hopes to perform at the Tour de France, and makes his debut for the American team this week in the Algarve. However on his mind is the bigger picture of the sport.

"We all need heroes in life. I certainly have more than a few. And yes we can idolize a performance. But to really support someone, we need to empathize a little with that human. To be truly inspired, we need to see a bit of ourselves in them and then something more, to ourselves aspire toward," he concludes. "If I could speak about the model of the sport, I’d want to build individual profiles and the narrative of the riders. Because their stories and connection to the fans is the sports real asset."

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