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Vuelta a Espana

Tao Geoghegan Hart: Humidity at Vuelta a España has been ‘like in a jungle’

Ineos Grenadiers gets three into top 10 in stage 10 time trial after strong showing in Alicante.

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The Vuelta a España is known for its searing heat, but it is the humidity that has been taking its toll on the riders over the first week, according to Tao Geoghegan Hart.

After its early visit to the Netherlands, the Vuelta made its way across the north of Spain before heading south ahead of the time trial and the second week of racing.

The Ineos Grenadiers rider compared it to like “riding through a jungle” at times and said the humidity was ready to make those who made a mistake pay.

“Every day, in the last week has been soaking wet, even in Asturias and Cantabria. You can’t see it on TV or hear it in a podcast, but we were dripping really crazy, like in a jungle. Today was more of the same. There was no solar radiation, but high humidity, very similar to Tokyo [at the Olympics] actually,” Geoghegan Hart said.

“It’s not particularly hot, but it’s very humid. In the end, the effect is similar, but also different because you sweat a lot more. It’s not that different to a normal TT, but if you make a mistake then you pay a lot more for it.”

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Ineos Grenadiers had a solid day out in the time trial with Geoghegan Hart, Carlos Rodriguez, and Pavel Sivakov all finishing inside the top 10. Rodriguez closed in on the podium with his fourth-placed finish — he’s 52 seconds behind Enric Mas in third — while Sivakov jumped one place to ninth and Geoghegan Hart made up to positions to move himself into the top 10 overall.

When Geoghegan Hart finished his effort, there were still some strong riders to complete their efforts. Though he didn’t know exactly how things would shake out, he felt good with how he performed.

“I started conservatively, but quite on it. Often, I struggle to do a good first few kilometers of a TT but today I think I actually did pretty good, from the feeling anyway,” he said.

“I don’t know, there are still 10 guys to go so it’s more about my performance and not comparing to anyone else. I think a lot of GC guys will set out very conservatively, because of the reasons I just said. Remi is a top-class time trialist and rider. I think it’s not bad. From the feeling of the pace myself, it was good and I didn’t stuff up any corners either so in that respect it’s fine.”

Remco Evenepoel (Quick-Step Alpha Vinyl) dominated the day, putting 48 seconds into Primož Roglič and much more into everyone else. After Ineos Grenadiers’ primary GC hope, Richard Carapaz, slumped down the rankings over the first week, the team has rallied to keep itself in contention.

With three riders going in the top 10 at almost the halfway point of the race, the squad is in a pretty good place. Geoghegan Hart is keeping his cards close to his chest, though, and says that predicting how the race will develop over the next two weeks is a fruitless game.

“It’s 10 days into the race. We were having this discussion on the bus and there’s not much point in comparing it to anything as it’s a grand tour and they’re unique,” he said. “Definitely with time trials and long climbs, because anything that you think you can or can’t do can change in a grand tour. We’ll see how the next days go.”