Tao Geoghegan Hart: ‘Everything is political. We are all in this together’ | Cycling

zA

Tao Geoghegan Hart, the winner of the 2020 Giro d’Italia, has sent a direct rebuke to Zlatan Ibrahimovic, who argued last week that sportspeople should avoid politics and stick to what they’re “good at doing,” with the cyclist offering a more detailed explanation of why he took a knee on Hackney Marshes last month.

Speaking exclusively to the Guardian, the 25-year-old Londoner said that “everything is political,” revealed that he is also lobbying British Cycling on accessibility and diversity and added that he “deplored” racism.

“We have again seen the return of the narrative that politics does not belong in sport in the international press in the last days. I could not agree less,” said Geoghegan Hart, who rides for the Ineos Grenadiers team.

In an interview last week with the Discovery Channel, Ibrahimovic said of NBA legend LeBron James: “I don’t like when people with a status speak about politics. Do what you’re good at doing. I play football because I’m the best at playing football. I’m no politician. If I’d been a politician, I would be doing politics.”

Geoghegan Hart responded by saying: “First and foremost, everything is political. We are all in this together. Secondly, there are many who simply do not have the choice whether they are political or not, because these issues so directly impact their lives and the lives of their friends, families and loved ones.

“I deplore racism. I want the best for all people. Sport should be a reflection of talent, of diversity, of all the incredible characters out there in this world.

“If we don’t want opinions and characters in sport, let’s just watch robots compete. As a fan I don’t cheer for the best rider, runner or player. I back the one I relate most to, the one who inspires me. There is more to sport than simply athletic ability. And championing a positive cause, that you believe in, is a huge part of that, of trying to leave the world a better place than you found it.”

Geoghegan Hart said that he had resolved to speak out after spending some of his winter break at home in London. “I spoke to a lot of friends in Hackney about it. They asked why cycling had not displayed a clear message, as so many other sports had done. I didn’t really have a clear answer as to why, and the conversations made me look at our sport more critically, in the midst of the November lockdown and away from training and racing.”

The well-worn excuses, he said, of a non-stadium sport, the presence of Covid-19 and the differing financial model of cycling to other sports, “didn’t cut it”.

“I had wanted to do something throughout 2020, however after these conversations I decided I needed to do something. Even if I didn’t see myself as a leader within the sport, I realised that that didn’t matter. This is about cycling and the message the sport is sending to all those who follow it.”

'I'm the wrong guy to go at': LeBron James points out Ibrahimovic hypocrisy – video
‘I’m the wrong guy to go at’: LeBron James points out Ibrahimovic hypocrisy – video

The Giro champion said that he believed in actions not words, but added that “there is a place for both, especially in lieu of any clear message within the sport of cycling”.

“This was why I decided to do it before my first race, but away from the race itself. I felt it could be less impactful in the melee and chaos of a bike race start-line, especially since we start our season at low-level races, with much smaller press coverage. Most importantly, I wanted to make my stance very clear and also lay out actions I hoped to take.

“I believe in the power of the bicycle. Whether that be for transport, for physical health or for mental health. The bike has connected me to so many and so much in my relatively short life. Somehow racing remains an extension of that humble bicycle, even amongst all the fancy carbon and jetting around the world for races. So, this sport should promote those values, those virtues. It should be seen as something that anyone could follow.”

Sign up to The Recap, our weekly email of editors’ picks.

In terms of actions, he is funding a place for an under-23 rider of colour with his American-based former sponsor, Hagens Berman Axeon, and said that he hopes “in the years to come, any kid can turn on the television, watch a bike race, and see protagonists they can directly relate to, in race, gender, or geographical upbringing.

“I am and will be continuing to lobby British Cycling to change youth racing rules to reduce the financial ‘arms race’ and costs associated with kids’ racing. Even just small changes can have a huge impact. This is not an easy sport to access. We need to change that. We need those kids getting into cycling, to grow the sport from the bottom up.”

News Highlights

  • Headline: Tao Geoghegan Hart: ‘Everything is political. We are all in this together’ | Cycling
  • Check our latest news updates now.
Disclaimer: If you need to update/edit/remove this news or article then please contact our support team.
For Latest Updates Follow us on Google News
Bollyinside - US Local News & Breaking News Stories
Logo
Compare items
  • Total (0)
Compare
0