Since Jack Haig moved to Bahrain Victorious at the start of the 2021 season, one goal has dominated his career, his dreams and so his season: the Tour de France.
This year, however, the Australian’s Grand Tour ambitions have changed from chasing yellow to chasing the maglia rosa at the Giro d’Italia.
Haig is not a great time trialist revelling in this edition’s heavy dose of kilometres in the discipline, or a pure climber that is suited to the steep ascents in the Alps and Dolomites but there is nevertheless a very good reason behind his change of Grand Tour goals.
“Because I crashed the last two times at the Tour de France and I was a bit fed up with it,” Haig tells Cyclingnews, quickly breaking into a bout of laughter, adding – just in case there was any doubt – “It’s basically the only reason.”
Who can blame him, the last two years at the Tour de France have been unequivocally rotten.
His first foray as Bahrain Victorious leader in 2021 came to a grinding halt when he broke his collarbone on stage 3 to Pontivy, an injury that also took him out of the Australian Olympic Games road race team. However, at least that year he could redeem his season, and in spectacular fashion.
Haig lined up at the Vuelta a España not even knowing he would be there until ten days before the start, but at the end was standing on his first Grand Tour overall podium.
However his misfortune returned at the 2022 Tour de France when he was knocked from the bike on stage 5, suffering a multiple fractures in his wrist that ended not only his race but his season.
“To be honest the most frustrating thing is that the two crashes I had at the Tour de France I don’t think were of any fault, it was just bad luck,” Haig explains.
“Normally, touch wood, I don’t actually crash very often. Those two injuries – the collarbone and my wrist – are the only two injuries I’ve had in cycling, I think, so it’s kind of frustrating.”
Early season struggles
Haig’s wrist injury lead to a full six months without racing, and almost ten weeks without riding outside which the 29-year-old said is “I think the most time I’ve ever had off the bike”.
After that there was no stunning bounce back, like he delivered at the Vuelta in 2021, when Haig started his 2023 season in January at the Vuelta a Andalucia Ruta…
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