Haig continues to learn in leader position at Il Lombardia

Sat 7 Oct 2017

Tour of Poland stage winner Jack Haig has continued to relish his new leadership opportunities in the back half of 2017, finishing a solid 24th position at Il Lombardia today.

Haig finished three minutes behind winner Vincenzo Nibali (Bahrain-Merida) who attacked with and then distanced Thibaut Pinot (FDJ) on the penultimate climb and its descent, before riding solo to his second victory in the 247km Italian Classic.

ORICA-SCOTT returned to the final monument of the season as the defending champions after Esteban Chaves, who was ruled out due to a crash last week, created history as the first Colombian and non-European victor last year.

With the change of dynamic, sport director Matt White admitted the team was slightly off the pace of the top favourites.

“We went in knowing that we were probably slightly off the pace of the really big favourites but we did the best with what we had,” White explained.

“It was a really good experience for Jack who stepped up as a leader again. He was around the mark of what we were expecting, probably even a little bit better which is a great sign for the future.

Adam Yates ran out of legs in the last hour. He was good on Thursday but this race is hard, it’s a big step up and he fell a bit short today.”

How it happened:

The peloton set off from Bergamo with a 247km journey towards Como in ideal conditions.

Six riders formed the breakaway of the day and rode out to a 12-minute maximum advantage before it began to drop. With 75km left to race it was under three minutes with Trek-Segafredo and Team Sky setting a furious pace at the front of the peloton.

Shortly after, on the Madonna del Ghisallo climb, counter attacks came from the peloton which saw several groups of riders pursue the leaders. At the top of the famous climb the breakaway had fractured and the final survivor, Mathieu Le Turnier (Cofidis), was joined by two of the attackers. 

At they approached the next climb, the Muro di Sormano, the trio had 30seconds on the first chase group with a reduced peloton at 50seconds and several others between. Sigue Cherel (AG2R) crested the difficult climb first but the pace was on behind as racing entered the final 50km.

As the favourites started attacking on the penultimate climb, ORICA-SCOTT still had Haig, Yates and Roman Kreuziger in the reduced bunch. After a final supply of water for his teammates, Kreuziger dropped off the pace before Yates also lost touch.

Haig wasn’t able to respond to the attacks of the likes of Nibali and Pinot but hung on further up the climb in the bunch before also settling into his own rhythm. 

Nibali and Pinot crested the Civiglio climb before Nibali distanced Pinot on the descent and went on to extend his lead over the final climb and to the line.

Behind, Julian Alaphilippe fought on for second and Gianni Moscon won a small sprint to round up the podium.

Giro Il Lombardia – Results:

1. Vincenzo Nibali (Bahrain Merida) 6:15:29
2. Julian Alaphilippe (Quickstep Floors) +0:28
3. Gianni Moscon (Team Sky) +0:38
24. Jack Haig (ORICA-SCOTT) +3:00

Photo courtesy of TDWsport.