Jack Haig will race in Australia for the first time since 2016 when he leads Bahrain Victorious at next week’s Tour Down Under.
The 30-year-old’s last outing in Australia came at the 2016 Herald Sun Tour at the beginning of his first professional season with GreenEdge. Haig’s previous appearances at the Tour Down Under came with the UniSA-Australia selection in 2014 and 2015.
“It’s great to have Jack on board. It’s a while since he’s done the TDU and it’s brilliant to have him here leading the team,” said directeur sportif Neil Stephens in a statement from the team.
“He’s really keen to do well in this race for the team, and it’s an added bonus being an Australian in Australia! We’ll try our best to be amongst the best riders and finish with a high GC for Jack.”
Haig placed an assured third overall at the 2021 Vuelta a España, but he has endured ill fortune in Grand Tours over the past two seasons. He crashed out of the following year’s Tour de France in the opening week, while his GC challenge at the 2023 Giro d’Italia was also ruined by his crash on stage 12.
The Australian recovered to place fifth overall at the following month’s Critérium du Dauphiné, and he was an aggressive presence at the Tour de France.
While Haig will look to shine on the decisive stage to Willunga Hill on the penultimate day, Phil Bauhaus will lead the line for Bahrain Victorious in the sprints earlier in the race. The German won the opening stage in Tanunda a year ago ahead of Caleb Ewan and Michael Matthews.
“Phil Bauhaus is coming back for a second consecutive year,” said Stephens. “He’s certainly coming back trying to aim for stages, he’s probably in even better shape than he was last time around, and he’s really looking forward to the race once again.”
Adelaide native Cameron Scott will be on hand to guide Bauhaus in the finale on the opening four stages, with Fran Miholjević, Johan Price Pejtersen, Nicolò Buratti and new signing Torstein Træen completing the seven-man line-up.
Træen, who impressed in week-long stages during his time at Uno-X, will play a key role on Haig’s behalf on the hilly days that will decide the general classification at the Tour Down Under.
“Torstein will be there as a really big support in the mountains, and who knows … he might even do well in GC on his own,” said Stephens. “Those last two stages are the GC stages. There are plenty of hills and there’s going to be plenty of action.”