Saturday, 31 October 2020

Tao's original cycle sport coach looks back

CC Hackney is greatly impressed by the progress of one of our original youth members at the beginning in Tao Geoghegan Hart. What he has achieved as a professional racing cyclist after moving on is immense.

Since Tao's amazing Giro d'Italia win in Milan, media heads have been asking me for quotes about my time as his early years cycle sport coach. I've made a compilation for another time, some words are based on the headings sent to me as a request by a journalist from a well known national broadsheet. 

Any more Tao's?

“There's only one Tao. But in Hackney there exists plenty unfound talent yet to be realised. The whole globe is represented and living here, just imagine who could be out there; African, Asian, Middle Eastern, South American, Caribbean athletes all with huge potential. Right here, right now in East London!" 

"We have young riders of colour attending our club sessions, and we’re working on creating a better environment for diversity progress for them here in Hackney.”

Diversity & racism

"It was helpful to hear Tao remembering his Hackney roots as winner after the Giro had finished.; Geoghegan Hart said 'I would love to see more cycling as a sport in London and more diversity in cycling, I hope I can inspire a few kids in Hackney to dream big.'  

"Asking for improved access to quality cycling for all and to make the sport fully inclusive and welcoming; these are core sentiments at CC Hackney."  KA

A global sport for all

"Coming from multi cultural Hackney, recently Tao has been open in media interviews about cycle racing and its diversity problem. Another driver for actual change, we hope so and we keep believing.

Having been active and pursuing fair representation at entry and every level since beginning cycle coaching in 2007, sometimes I look at UCI World Tour events, cycling world cups and championships in wonder. And then I'm going; aren't these riders supposed to be competing against the whole world. I mean like, where's the rest of 'em?!"

Once he was a goalkeeper for Hackney Borough

"Tao the goalkeeper. I never saw him playing football but they say you need to be a bit nuts to be a goalie; putting your body on the line for the team. In the end he said he got hacked off playing for the Borough because players kept letting him and his team down. With CC Hackney and cycle sport I believe he realised his destiny was in his own hands."

Tao & Alex Peters

"2008 Tao followed (school and club mate) Alex Peters to CC Hackney. In youth racing there was a period when it was almost guaranteed that if Alex would win a race one week, the following week comes around and Tao does the same. They had an incredible competitive energy between them, they pushed each other on so much."

Write it down 

"On our funded trips away, it was a part of the deal that those travelling should take note and provide a write up for our sponsors/benefactors and a personal record for history sake. Tao understood and wrote it down."

Essex roads 

"After one youth training ride I remember saying to 14 year old Tao that he had lost pace for a moment on the final Epping Road stretch up to Woodford. For a racer this last 20-minutes should be drilled, finishing strong and near the limits. I believe he was already preparing for what was to come then."

Pas de Calais France

"A youth team rider for Hackney’s London Youth Games cycling squad, Tao travelled with us for a block of spring training on safe French roads. This was a great experience for Hackney's squad in Tour de France country.”

Italian Youth Trip the road to Liguria

"Part time employed on a two year contract, my brief was to develop cycle sport for young people in Hackney for the boroughs education authority; The Learning Trust. During this time I organised and fundraised for a youth development trip to Osiglia, Liguria in Italy for 4th-7th September 2009. Liguria is the home area of Joseph Alberti, our assistant coach at the time. The group learned a lot during this visit, it put a lot into Tao and the others, not least the passion of cycling and racing in Italy.

CC Hackney members on the trip were; Clem Berrill, Kyroah Pang, Alex Peters and Tao Geoghegan Hart, along with staff Joseph Alberti and lead Keir Apperley

“The idea was to introduce our talented young riders to the passion of continental Italian cycling and increase their interest in cycle sport for the future.” K.A.

Since then Alex and Tao went on via different routes to join Team Sky as young professional cyclists, scoring significant results domestically and internationally."                                                                     

Link to a short film about this trip: Delbono Memorial Race 2009

Acknowledgements and thanks go to The Learning Trust's chief Sir Alan Wood and to my line manager Nicola Baboneau who backed my work. Together we ensured our educational trips went ahead in the correct way; fully compliant regarding safeguarding, child welfare and outcomes.  


Keir Apperley – founding member of Cycling Club Hackney, Manager and lead Coach.

"...everyone's time comes and when you get your chance, take it!"


  1. Stage 17 Alpe d'Huez
    Stage 16 TT
    Have you seen these? We were there.

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