Tao Geoghegan Hart’s decision to become the first Grand Tour rider to kneel in protest of racial inequality in cycling is understood to be supported by Sir Dave Brailsford and the Ineos Grenadiers team.
Posing on one knee in his sponsors’ kit, Geoghegan Hart, winner of last year’s Giro d’Italia, said in a post on social media that it was “a given” that cycling has “a diversity and inclusion problem.”
“It is not unique within the sport, but we have to face it head on anyway. I feel like cycling has not done enough this last year. Also, I haven’t done enough. “
Geoghegan Hart’s actions are believed to be endorsed by his sponsor and by Brailsford, who recently told the media that diversity was “an important issue for us” and that it was “really very exciting to see what Lewis [Hamilton] did in F1 “.
Geoghegan Hart is also rekindling his working relationship with his former mentor and coach, Axel Merckx, and his USA team, Hagens Berman Axeon, by sponsoring an under-23 driver to race with the team this year. “I hope this can be the beginning of a joint effort to increase racial diversity within the incredible sport of cycling,” he said.
Geoghegan Hart, who started his 2021 season on Friday’s first leg of the Tour des Alpes-Maritimes et du Var, plans, with Merckx, to “identify, train and guide the person, and the athlete, to join the team on 1 August”.
“What good are words without action?” added the 25-year-old.
In June of last year, when the Black Lives Matter movement was accelerating, Geoghegan Hart had made his position clear, publishing Desmond Tutu’s statement that “If you are neutral in situations of injustice, you have chosen the side of the oppressor”, in his Instagram. page. However, your decision to voice your concerns at the start of the new season may alter the feathers of a sport tied to tradition that has walked sleepwalking through social change and which, in 2020, showed minimal awareness of the problems of long-standing diversity of cycling.
Speaking to The Guardian in November last year, shortly after his success in Italy, the Londoner said: “It’s something I’ve thought a lot about and how I can influence it. There are great barriers to entering cycling.
Geoghegan Hart, a steady partner within Lewis Hamilton’s Ineos Sport, a fickle supporter of the Black Lives Matter movement, who grew up in a diverse inner-city community in East London, is well aware of how slow it has been to achieve changes in your sport.
Even his own team has been embroiled in racism controversies in the past, when it was known as Team Sky, after Geoghegan Hart’s teammate Gianni Moscon admitted to racially abusing black French driver Kevin Reza, during the Tour de Romandie 2017. The Italian was suspended for six weeks and sent to a diversity awareness course.
“I realized from a young age that there were many levels where diversity was lacking in cycling, not just at the level of racing. But he still has a long way to go, in diversity of backgrounds or people, in all aspects. There is always more you can do. “
George is Digismak’s reported cum editor with 13 years of experience in Journalism