BRITISH bookies’ favourite Tao Geoghegan Hart has spoken to the Olive Press just two days before the 2019 Vuelta de España kicks off in Torrevieja.
The Team Ineos rider, 24, was at the presentation ceremony of Spain’s top cycling event in Moraira, Alicante, on Thursday (August 22) evening.
The bookies have Geoghegan Hart at odds of 22/1 to win this year’s Spanish Tour.
The rider was modest about the bookies’ backing, however, saying ‘don’t believe everything they say’.
Nevertheless, he revealed he’s been living in Girona, Catalunya, and is ‘well adapted’ to the Spanish climate.
He said it was his ‘second time’ racing the Vuelta but didn’t want to jinx his chances in the race, starting tomorrow.
He added he hoped the cycling ‘would be good’ this race, following on from his successes at this year’s Tour of the Alps.
In that race he finished 2nd in the general classification, bagging two stage victories.
Geoghegan Hart has yet to win a stage victory in a major Grand Tour, but this year as captain Team Ineos the bets are now on.
The 2019 Vuelta a España begins tomorrow (Saturday, August 24) in Torrevieja’s Las Salinas, before winding up at the Costa Blanca city’s port.
The second stage begins in Benidorm, on Sunday, August 25, before racing through La Nucia, Guadalest, Alcoy, Cocentaina, Benimarfull, Benichembla, Benissa, Moraira, Benitachell and finishing in Calpe.
As of last week, the bookies’s favourite was Slovenian Primož Rogli?, riding for Team Jumbo–Visma, with odds of 9/4.
Colombian Miguel Ángel López, riding for Astana, is second favourite with odds of 3/1. López finished third last year, behind Brit winner Simon Yates.
Third favourite is Richard Carapaz, with odds of 7/2. He is followed by Steven Kruijswijk (9/1), Nairo Quintana (16/1), Alejandro Valverde (18/1) and then Britain’s best chance Tao Geoghegan Hart with odds at 22/1.
Team Ineos are this year without big hitters Geraint Thomas and Chris Froome.
The British pro cycling team already have the wind in their sales, however, after Froome was named as the 2011 Vuelta de España champion in July following the disqualification of Juan José Cobo after a doping investigation.