Aussie Focus

Haig leads Aussies in fight for yellow

Australian Jack Haig is showing that he has what it takes to battle with the other top contenders in the general classification, finishing fourth and tenth in the opening two stages of the 2021 Tour de France.

While it hasn't been the decisive high mountains or the key pair of time trials that will bookend the race, Bendigo local Haig has shown great ability to navigate the first two stages of the Tour de France against the best riders in the world.

On the opening stage, Haig was felled in the first of two mass crashes, fighting his way back to the peloton, avoiding the second mass crash and surging up the final climb to finish fourth behind winner Julian Alaphilippe (Deceuninck-QuickStep). 

“It was more of the climbing style riders doing well, and I managed to just follow some wheels and stay up there as much as possible, and to come 4th was really nice," said Haig. “During the stage, it was quite fast and technical and two hard crashes. One with around 40 kilometres to go at the top of a climb, and both Sonny (Colbrelli, teammate) and I got caught up in this crash, and it took us quite a long time to chase back to the peloton."

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For his follow-up performance on Stage 2, Haig was conspicuous throughout the final 20 kilometres, shepherded well by teammate Matej Mohoric as they stayed close to the front of the race. On the final climb, Haig wasn't quite able to follow the elite Slovenian pair of Tadej Pogačar (UAE Team Emirates) and Primož Roglič (Jumbo-Visma) when they launched their final assault in the wake of lone stage-winner Mathieu van der Poel (Alpecin-Fenix). He did however finish well up the next group, conceding just a handful of seconds to the top riders and stayed high up the standings, in sixth overall.

With two sprint stages expected over the next two days, little is expected to shift in the general classification until the Stage 5 time trial, with Haig saying he was looking forward to the tests against the clock in a pre-race interview with SBS Cycling Central.



"I think you can see through the year that I've slowly improved each time trial and I was happy with my performance in the one at the Criterium du Dauphine," said Haig. "The team's invested more into research and development there because the technology side of the sport is becoming more important, especially in time-trialling and you see that with the top teams."

The Tour de France continues tomorrow with Stage 3, which looks to be one for the pure sprinters with Aussie Caleb Ewan going in as the strong favourite. Watch on SBS, the SKODA Tour Tracker App and SBS On Demand from 8.30pm AEST with racing starting from 9.00pm AEST.

 

 

 

“It was more of the climbing style riders doing well, and I managed to just follow some wheels and stay up there as much as possible, and to come 4th was really nice.”

“During the stage, it was quite fast and technical and two hard crashes. One with around 40 kilometres to go at the top of a climb, and both Sonny and I got caught up in this crash, and it took us quite a long time to chase back to the peloton.

 


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3 min read
Published 28 June 2021 at 4:40am
By SBS Cycling Central
Source: SBS