Haig and Caruso both claimed Grand Tour podium finishes in 2021 at the Vuelta and Giro respectively and will look to take a step up to better those feats at the Tour de France.
The Bendigo local Haig came into the 2021 Tour de France as the team leader, but crashed out of the race with a broken collarbone after a dangerous finale to Stage 3. Haig was a late addition for the Vuelta a Espana, and came in with no racing form, but produced a series of outstanding performances to finish third on the race for the highest Grand Tour overall finish of his career.
“I’m feeling really good coming into the Tour and maybe a little more relaxed this year than last year,” said Haig. “Last year I went into the race with a lot of pressure on myself and to prove to my new team that I could perform.
“This year I feel much more comfortable in the team alongside the group of riders we have going into the Tour, so I’ve not got much to be nervous about.
“As I said, we’ve got a strong line-up going into the race with really good flat support, which will be important for the first 7-8 days, which will be about minimising the risk of any bad luck.
"For my personal ambitions, I want to go well in the GC, and if I get a top 5 finish by the end of the Tour, I’d be quite happy. For the team’s ambitions, we will look for some stage results, with the strong guys who will have opportunities to look for some results themselves.”
The team picked up the pieces with a series of attacking performances yielding three stage wins, two for Matej Mohorič and one for Dylan Teuns.
Both Mohorič and Teuns will line up again for the Tour de France, with the squad to deploy a mixed approach, with both general classification and stage win goals.
“Our goal is to take the team’s first podium at the Tour de France, which we narrowly missed out on with Landa back in 2020,” said sports director Gorazd Štangelj.
“We will also be looking for chances with our other riders to take stage wins or help us gain time for our overall objective. I’m convinced we have a strong team for the race itself.”
The big omission from the squad is Gino Mäder, the climber and potential GC candidate having pulled out from the recent Tour de Suisse with what was described in the Bahrain-Victorious press statement as 'gastrointestinal problems and severe dehydration'.
It's the biggest race of the cycling season and the best place to watch the Tour de France - LIVE, FREE and EXCLUSIVE - plus the first edition of the Tour de France Femmes avec Zwift is right here on SBS.
Bahrain-Victorious line-up for the 2022 Tour de France:
Jack Haig, Damiano Caruso, Jan Tratnik, Kamil Gradek, Fred Wright, Luis Leon Sanchez, Matej Mohorič, Dylan Teuns.