Since Jack Haig moved to Bahrain Victorious firstly of the 2021 season, one objective has dominated his profession, his goals and so his season: the Tour de France.
This yr, nonetheless, the Australian’s Grand Tour ambitions have modified from chasing yellow to chasing the maglia rosa on the Giro d’Italia.
Haig is just not a good time trialist revelling on this version’s heavy dose of kilometres within the self-discipline, or a pure climber that’s suited to the steep ascents within the Alps and Dolomites however there may be nonetheless an excellent motive behind his change of Grand Tour objectives.
“As a result of I crashed the final two occasions on the Tour de France and I used to be a bit fed up with it,” Haig tells Cyclingnews, rapidly breaking right into a bout of laughter, including – simply in case there was any doubt – “It is mainly the one motive.”
Who can blame him, the final two years on the Tour de France have been unequivocally rotten.
His first foray as Bahrain Victorious chief in 2021 got here to a grinding halt when he broke his collarbone on stage 3 to Pontivy, an damage that additionally took him out of the Australian Olympic Video games highway race workforce. Nevertheless, not less than that yr he might redeem his season, and in spectacular style.
Haig lined up on the Vuelta a España not even understanding he could be there till ten days earlier than the beginning, however on the finish was standing on his first Grand Tour total podium.
Nevertheless his misfortune returned on the 2022 Tour de France when he was knocked from the bike on stage 5, struggling a a number of fractures in his wrist that ended not solely his race however his season.
“To be sincere essentially the most irritating factor is that the 2 crashes I had on the Tour de France I don’t assume had been of any fault, it was simply unhealthy luck,” Haig explains.
“Usually, contact wooden, I don’t really crash fairly often. These two accidents – the collarbone and my wrist – are the one two accidents I’ve had in biking, I believe, so it is sort of irritating.”
Early season struggles
Haig’s wrist damage result in a full six months with out racing, and nearly ten weeks with out using exterior which the 29-year-old mentioned is “I believe essentially the most time I’ve ever had off the bike”.
After that there was no beautiful bounce again, like he delivered on the Vuelta in 2021, when Haig began his 2023 season in January on the Vuelta a Andalucia Ruta Ciclista Del Sol. There he got here eleventh total, then headed to Paris Good in March the place he moved one step up the outcomes desk to tenth total. After that it was Volta a Catalunya the place his finest stage end was 18th and he, together with many others, registered a DNF within the remaining stage.
“I actually struggled this yr after getting back from the wrist damage,” mentioned Haig. “I used to be actually hoping to have higher ends in Paris-Good and Catalunya and for no matter motive it simply didn’t work out and I didn’t have the extent.”
The Tour of the Alps, nonetheless, delivered a way more reassuring tone. He typically went on the assault on the mountain end, hurting the Ineos Grenadiers mountain practice that was using for Tao Geoghegan Hart.
“It is coming now, roughly, which is sweet,” Haig mentioned, referring to his type. “However I used to be struggling somewhat bit the primary a part of the season, not likely understanding what was happening, why I wasn’t extra on the entrance.”
Haig walked away from the 5 stage Tour of the Alps with third total, behind Tao Geoghegan Hart (Ineos Grenadiers) and Hugh Carthy (EF Schooling-EasyPost). Extra importantly, he was reassured that he’s coming into the kind of type that can assist him goal the maglia rosa and the highest 5 within the total classification on the Giro d’Italia.
“I wished a affirmation that the work I’d finished within the altitude camp in Tenerife was heading in the right direction,” mentioned Haig throughout the Tour of the Alps.
“The thought is to not be going 100% right here however to tick the field and go proper, I can go dwelling, chill out, not stress an excessive amount of about attempting to chase type or chase something then come to the Giro with contemporary legs, contemporary thoughts.”
Giro d’Italia objectives
Haig rode his first Giro in 2018 whereas using with the Australian GreenEdge squad – its present incarnation being Jayco-AlUla – the place he impressed together with his endurance on the climbs in assist of his workforce leaders Esteban Chaves and Simon Yates.
He then returned to the race in 2020, however the Australian workforce left that late season version early, withdrawing as a consequence of a cluster of COVID-19 instances inside it.
This time, after having established himself as a workforce Grand Tour chief when he made the swap to Bahrain-Victorious in 2021.
Remco Evenepoel and Primož Roglič are anticipated to set the usual for the race because the clear favourites for the maglia rosa, although on the subject of that remaining place on the rostrum it seems to be a way more open battle.
“There’s in all probability a bunch from third to eighth that’s actually fairly shut,” Haig predicts.
“If any of us need to beat Evenepoel and Roglič we in all probability have to search for alternatives and unhealthy moments these two might need and for the racing between ourselves, it’s clearly fairly difficult and likewise opportunistic as effectively.”
Haig will line up on the Giro as a supported rider for the primary time. sharing management with Italian veteran Damiano Caruso and Colombian climber Santiago Buitrago. Gino Mäder additionally on the ultimate eight-rider roster however Bahrain Victorious have loads of sturdy rivals past the 2 favourites.
They embody the 2 riders that he completed on the rostrum with on the Tour of the Alps, Geoghegan Hart and Carthy, João Almeida and his UAE Workforce Emirates teammate Jay Vine, Lennard Kämna and Aleksandr Vlasov of Bora-Hansgrohe and 2018 Tour de France winner Geraint Thomas (Ineos Grenadiers).
“If I could make high 5 I’d be very proud of the consequence to be sincere, I believe realistically wanting on the names on paper,” Haig says.
“To complete in entrance of Primoz or Remco, in the event that they don’t have any issues, I believe is extremely tough so high 5 could be one thing that I might be tremendous proud of.”
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