5 observations Tao Geoghegan Hart made in his first professional year
Tao Geoghegan Hart Team Sky
Professional cycling at the World Tour level is a very different beast from that of Continental level teams, despite the fact the two can often compete in the same races. My team of 2017 compared to 2016 had 2x more riders, but also probably at least 10x more staff.
It is not only bigger in names to learn, but also the places it reaches. I think most continental teams operate on one continent, perhaps two at a push. This year as a World Tour rider I have raced all over the world, from California, to Dubai and Abu Dhabi, to almost every country in Europe. The team races in Asia and Australia also, showing how truly international the top level of cycling is.
Changes in level
I always knew World Tour races would be faster than those of .1 and .HC, but the difference still surprised me, after all it is almost the same riders? The difference in the speed of a race when there are 4 or 5 World Tour teams, compared to when there are the full compliment of 18 is a huge difference. I also realised that the guys often racing for the win one week in a .hc race, are the domestiques ten days later in a big World Tour race, perhaps a pretty good illustration in the difference of level.
We all travel together. Yes every race has a slightly different field, but you often end up riding with a lot of similar riders throughout the year. Flick someone today and you might be getting flicked by them tomorrow, or worse sat on a long-haul flight next to them! Similarly, you spend so many days on the road with team staff, I think it really pays off to invest the extra time in simply taking a second to appreciate their hardwork. They are away from their families even more than the riders, and with little or no plaudits, praise or recognition from the press/fans, so it is the least you can do as a rider.
The season flies by, but there is also almost always time to turn it around. For example those injured or sick in the first part of the year often fly in the final months of the season. It is easy to get bogged down on a couple of results, but cycling is all about the long-game, and patience and consistency in training, almost always seems to pay off in this game, if you keep your head!