Final corner mishap costs Haig the chance to fight for the stage 3 victory in Ruta del SolFri 21 Feb 2020
Australian Jack Haig came into the final 350metres of today’s hilly third stage, in prime position to challenge for the stage victory alongside Dylan Teuns (Bahrain-McLaren), however, a tight right hand corner denied the Mitchelton-SCOTT rider the chance to sprint for the win.
Sat tight on the wheel of Teuns, Haig followed the Bahrain-McLaren rider and went straight forward into the barrier, ultimately having to unclip, whilst his main general classification contenders passed by and began the final uphill sprint to the finish line.
Jakob Fuglsang (Astana Pro Team) profited from the two leading rider's mistakes, flying past to claim his second stage victory fo the tour.
Haig now slips down to sixth place overall, but still remains very much in contention, just 35seconds down on the race leader Fuglsang with two important more stages to come.
Numbers to their advantage
On the first of five categoried climbs on the day’s menu, the peloton split with a front group of 44 riders opening up a gap over the rest. Mitchelton-SCOTT had numbers to their advantage with six out of the seven riders present in the front split.
Zeits takes over
With around 100kilometres complete, the two groups came back together again, once the first three hard climbs of the day had been tackled and immediately after a new group of 10riders clipped off the front. Mitchelton-SCOTT continued on the front foot putting Andrey Zeits into the move.
The group quickly established itself with a lead of over two-minutes as they took on the final two climbs. The race situation was playing to the Australian outfit's advantage, with Astana Pro Team leading the fast chase behind, with Haig able to sit and wait in the wheels.
Bad luck then struck for Mitchelton-SCOTT as Zeits unfortunately crashed in the breakaway and subsequently returned to the main peloton alongside his teammates.
As the finish line drew closer, the breakaway started to reduce in size and it wasn’t until the final three kilometres, when the road ramped up, that the group was finally all swallowed up.
With one-kilometre to go, Haig launched an attack from the small group that had naturally formed at the front, due to the nature of the climb. His competitors where quick to react but with Haig remaining at the front, in second wheel behind Teuns through the twisty final uphill kilometre.
It was just 300metres to go when Haig’s chances of the stage win were over, sitting on the inside of Teuns wheel as he missed the bend, causing the Australian to unclip and then restart and eventially settle for seventh place.
“I obviously knew from the meeting before the race that there was that tight corner with around 200metres to go, but in the race situation I was just following Teuns' wheel, and the corner came up on us very quickly.
"We came up that rise and there wasn’t really any barricade or person in a florescent vest on the corner indicating where to go and I ended up being on the left hand side of Teuns' wheel, on the outside and as he went straight I couldn’t turn right. It is very disappointing.
“I felt good today and I wanted to be up there, I knew it was a technical finish and these sort of things normally suit me. It is just very disappointing for me today and for the race, the last five kilometres were dangerous and it sort of puts a bit of a downer on the whole race, but we just have to go into tomorrow try and do our best.”
Laurenzo Lapage - Sport Director
“These things happen, Jack was in a good position, we knew the final, we had been checking everything before and he was second wheel and actually he was in the perfect position to start the sprint.
"It was a bit confusing the final turn, there was only one police man and also that was where the race car deviation was and maybe that is why Dylan made a mistake. Jack was on the inside of the wheel so he couldn’t move anywhere. Of course we are disappointed today but there’s nothing you can do, these things happen.”
“We have to take the positive from the last days, not only today, the whole team is riding on a high level, there was one moment earlier on where Fuglsang came in to the front group later on and we were already there with six-riders, so that says enough.
“Andrey is ok after his crash, there were some more crashes so I think there must have been something on the road, thankfully he is ok, just some skin off and nothing worse so he will be ok to continue tomorrow."
2020 Ruta del Sol - Stage 3 Results:
1. Jakob Fuglsang (Astana Pro Team) 4:33:25
2. Pello Bilbao (Bahrain-McLaren) ST
3. Brandon McNulty (UAE Emirates) +0:04
7. Jack Haig (Mitchelton-SCOTT) +0:08
General Classification stage 3 results:
1. Jakob Fuglsang (Astana Pro Team) 14:22:26
2. Mikel Landa (Bahrain-McLaren) +0:14
3. Pello Bilbao (Bahrain-McLaren) +0:30
6. Jack Haig (Mitchelton-SCOTT) +0:35
Photos courtesy of Getty Images