Jack Haig has signed a two year deal with Orica-GreenEDGE that will see him join the WorldTour outfit officially in August of next year, and stay with the team until the end of 2017.
7 Apr 2015 - 5:20 PM  UPDATED 13 Apr 2015 - 3:34 PM

The 21 year old enjoyed considerable success this year in Australia, Asia and Europe, off the back of a brilliant first year on the road with Huon-Genesys in 2013. Haig first impressed on the domestic circuit, winning the coveted Subaru National Road Series, but it wasn't until the Santos Tour Down Under this year, where the youngster picked up the best young rider, that professional teams began to take notice.

Among those interested were Team Sky, BMC, and Orica-GreenEDGE, but it was the latter that made the first formal move, putting forward an in-principle agreement to Haig to sign with the team in 2016 shortly before the Tour of Korea.

According to Haig, his agent Andrew McQuaid proved instrumental in brokering the deal, but nothing was put in ink until the UCI Road World Championships when all parties were present. There, Haig put pen to paper on a two-year-deal that will officially begin in 2016, but will see the Australian ride as a trainee from August 2015.

"It was funny, I'd signed an agreement with an agent in February thinking 'I'll be in contact if I need you'. Then suddenly I it was all started to happen really quickly," said Haig to Cycling Central.

"There was a couple of teams who were saying, 'yeah, we're interested', we think he's got a lot of potential, but a lot of the teams wanted to see how I'd go in Europe first," added Haig.

"Nobody was willing to lock anything in, but then GreenEDGE came forward with an offer. McQuaid sent through the terms and I was really happy with them. It was only a handshake agreement but it was pretty much done."

Like Caleb Ewan, who signed a similar deal with Orica-GreenEDGE last season, the arrangement will allow Haig more time to develop in the under-23 ranks, and find a place to live, sort out his visa, and begin his time with the Australian WorldTour outfit on the best footing.

Haig said the decision to sign with Orica had been a reflection of the way the team dealt with and developed its young talent, and because they put the best terms forward.

"(By September) I had other offers on the table, but out of those GreenEDGE was the best. And then, they also seemed to be one of the better teams to go to develop. The fact that they gave me another year in the under 23s and some time to sort out my affairs, not stressing me out in the first half of my neo year, I think it's a much better way to go about things.

"You look at the Yates brothers, and they've not had too much pressure, but they've been given lots of opportunities in their neo year. And they've taken advantage of that.

"You look at other teams and some riders have disappeared, you wouldn't have heard of them."

Interestingly Haig had been pencilled in to ride in a trainee role with Orica-GreenEDGE this year but missed out after the team was whittled by Commonwealth Game callups, leading it to skip the Tours of Utah and Colorado where Haig would likely have lined up.

That won't be the same next season, where Haig says he's keen to start both races.

"I've got to have discussions with Shayne (Bannan) and Matt (Wilson) next week at a team camp in Nagambie, but it's what I'd like to do. I really like riding in the states. I've spent a lot of time there (in 2012 when Haig rode the mountain bike circuit), and I think the timing, and the type of races make them ideal.

"A lot will depend too on whether I go to L'Avenir again. I've got to talk to James Victor (the head of the national team) about that."

Haig says he's still tossing up where he'll live in Europe but has mind set at least on either Girona, where much of the Orica-GreenEDGE team and infrastructure is, or Nice, where he has a number of friends; including former Avanti team-mate Campbell Flakemore.

Avanti announced Haig's signing earlier Thursday with its own press release. Avanti now boasts several graduates to have made it to the WorldTour from its domestic operation including Richie Porte (Sky), Nathan Earle (Sky), Nathan Haas (Garmin-Sharp), Steele Von Hoff (Garmin-Sharp), Will Clarke (formerly Argos-Shimano and Leopard-Trek) and Flakemore (BMC).