Jack Haig has closed the door on an ambitious plan to ride the 2014 Commonwealth Games in Glasgow, citing his growing commitment on the road as too difficult to balance with the dirt.
I won’t be going to the Oceanias, and that in turn means I won’t be going to do the Commonwealth Games.
Haig had planned to tackle the Commonwealth Games as a member of the Australian Cross-Country Mountain Bike team, but without adequate funding and support the path to Glasgow was always going to be a tough one.
Compounding things has been the 20 year old's resounding success in 2013, and now in the early part of 2014 on the road. Haig won last year's Tour of Tasmania on the way to the overall domestic series title, and in January and February confirmed his talent with best young rider jersey's at both the Santos Tour Down Under and Jayco Herald Sun Tour.
And while too much success isn't exactly a bad problem to have, it has forced Haig to rethink his ambitions on the dirt. Courting very real interest from several WorldTour teams, Haig wants to take advantage of the momentum he's built over the last 18 months and strike while the iron is hot.
"I’d still like to do some of the Marathon races if they don’t clash with any of the road commitments. There’s the Golden Triangle MTB Race. I’d like to do that," Haig told Cycling Central.
"But I won’t be going to the Oceanias, and that in turn means I won’t be going to do the Commonwealth Games."
The decision will free Haig up to spend more time on the road which he hopes will launch him to the WorldTour by 2015. Haig will race the Cross-Country National Championships in Bright, Victoria, the weekend after next, in one of his final competitive mountain bike hit outs before a string of Subaru National Road Series races and - almost certainly - departing to Europe in June.
To what end is still a question Haig needs to answer but it will boil down to one of two options.
"Whether that’s with the under 23 Australian team (WorldTour Academy) or with another team, well we’ll make that decision soon," said Haig.
"I could go over and do a couple of training camps, maybe do a stagiaire thing with a WorldTour team, or race more with the under 23 team and try and win a race like L’Avenir and do Road Worlds."
A lot will depend on whether Haig is handed a concrete offer by a WorldTour team that will take the pressure off the Australian getting further results in Europe in 2014.
If that does come through, Haig would likely link up with the team June, before 'officially' starting a stagiaire role 1 August.
"It would mean I couldn’t ride with the team for a few months before then," said Haig.
"Pre-Vuelta Training Camps and things like that. If I had the opportunity to ride a lot with a team before doing a stagiaire I think it would be beneficial for me joining them in the long term, for 2015."
Haig said that any future team he'd consider signing for would need to be titled toward stage race success, and would have indicate an intent to nurture and develop him through his first years in the professional ranks.