Jack Haig celebrates Australia’s first Vuelta a España podium since Evans

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The Vuelta a España podium Jack Haig (Bahrain Victorious) won the biggest result of his career on Sunday, but the Australian has revealed that there is a possibility he will take part in the race.

Haig’s result came after battling a serious crash at the Tour de France, where he left the race injured in Stage 3. On top of that, his main goal for the Grand Tour of Spain, before the race, was to help the local star and his teammate. Mikel Landa has the most impact possible.

Everything changed for Haig on the roller coaster of Vuelta a España, where he was not entirely sure of third place until he reached the final podium in Santiago de Compostela.

“Coming to the Vuelta, 10 days before it started, I didn’t even know I was going to be here,” Haig told reporters shortly after becoming the first Australian to make the Vuelta a podium. of Spain in 12 years.

“The surgery I needed was worse than I expected. And when I came here, it was to do my best to help Mikel. A podium was definitely not even considered.

However, that started to change the day he reached the breakaway at Balcón de Alicante and when Landa started to fade following his own difficult comeback after injuries at the Giro d’Italia.

“We had so much time in this break that all of a sudden I was fifth or sixth overall. [seventh – Ed.], but I have never been very confident. I just thought I might as well give it a try.

Then, more importantly, on the first big mountain stage at Velefique, Haig did more than just hold on, placing fourth and moving up to fourth overall. At the same time, Landa completely got out of the GC race and later dropped out.

From there, Haig continued to stay in the race and on Saturday he finally made it to the podium. British challenger Adam Yates (Ineos Grenadiers) was only a minute behind in the overall standings, however, and with a 33.8 kilometer time trial remaining, things were still unresolved regarding the podium.

“I knew [Yates] should come out really hard and I accepted that he would probably have some time on me at the top of the climb – that’s the part of the course that really suits him, ”Haig told reporters on TV. “I tried to stay calm and relaxed and I knew if I had a good race, unless it was an amazing day, everything would be fine. I stayed relaxed and managed to do it.

Finally, Haig placed 17th on the final stage 21, 26 seconds ahead of Yates. The podium was in the bag.

“Setting my wife and child on fire on arrival was pretty amazing,” he said. “I’m going to have dinner with the team tonight. It doesn’t just happen in one or two years of work, it’s 15 years and so many people to thank along the way. I can’t thank everyone enough. who helped me along the way.

Haig also paid tribute to Bahrain Victorious, who not only won a stage with Damiano Caruso in the Vuelta, but also placed young Swiss Gino Mäder in fifth place, winning the award for best young rider. Despite losing Landa, the team also won the Vuelta team standings.

Also triumphant in the Benelux Tour with Sonny Colbrelli, the 27-year-old was asked what made Bahrain Victorious so successful.

“To be honest, there’s nothing special about the squad, but we do the basics really well. We have some really good bikes, wheels, clothes and on top of that, a lot of class riders who perform amazingly, ”Haig said,“ and the results come with that. “

Having achieved the biggest triumph of his career to date, Haig has confirmed that from now on he will be looking to try for more Grand Tour success. Aiming for the best results in the general classification had been his goal in the Tour de France this summer, he has already attempted the general classification in other events such as Paris-Nice, and this podium of the Vuelta has amply proved that he has the firepower to do it.

Haig is the first Australian to step onto the Vuelta podium since Cadel Evans in 2009 and added that the two are in touch.

“He texted me yesterday to congratulate me on my run and wish me good luck for today, I have some contact with him,” Haig said.

“I want to thank everyone who stayed in Australia to support me and I hope other things can happen. Cadel continued to do amazing things after his podium in the Vuelta and if I could do even half of what he did I would be very satisfied.


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