Haig fights to 11th in the sprint finale at the Grand Prix Cycliste de MontréalSun 15 Sep 2019
Australian Jack Haig put it all on the line in the sprint finale at the Grand Prix Cycliste de Montréal on his way to an 11th place finish.
The 26-year-old shut down a late attack inside the final kilometre but couldn’t hold on in the kick for the line, eventually coming home just ahead of his teammate Adam Yates in the reduced bunch.
Just like in Quebec, it didn’t take long for a breakaway to form with five riders escaping on the opening lap of 18. The escapees went on to open up a maximum advantage of over 10-minutes as the peloton sat up and allowed the break to drift away.
Not much changed over the first 120-kilometres with the gap eventually starting to tumble as the race reached 100-kilometres to go. Mitchelton-SCOTT were content to sit tucked away in the pack as Team Sunweb and Deceuninck - Quick Step controlled the pace.
The first attacks began to roll out of the bunch as the gap fell below one-minute at 55-kilometres remaining. Dane Chris Juul-Jensen quickly moved to the front to keep an eye on proceedings as a lone rider clipped off the front before a larger group went clear.
American Brent Bookwalter was marshalling the move as it came back together with four laps remaining. A number of counter attacks then came over the course of the following lap with South African champion Daryl Impey finding himself in a short-lived move.
The remains of the break were eventually reeled in with 31-kilometres to go and it wasn’t long before another split appeared, with Juul-Jensen on marking duty this time. But with nobody willing to work, the reduced bunch brought them back and it was all back together as the pack raced onto the final lap.
The ascent after the finish line delivered the decisive move as a large group went clear. Yates and Haig made it into the split before several riders fired attacks as they raced through the streets. Two riders were still away inside the final kilometre, forcing Haig to open up his sprint from the bottom the hill. The 26-year-old caught the leading duo, but the chasing pack sprinted past with Greg Van Avermaet (CCC Team) taking the win.
"Both Adam and myself made it into the decisive move on the final lap there going up the longer climb. We didn’t really have too much of a plan from there but Adam did a really good job of following a lot of the moves and covering when it was needed."
"I was a bit pinned so I was sitting at the back waiting and then when it came down to the final I tried going a little bit early and tried to get a bit of a gap to bring back Alaphilippe and the AG2R rider."
"I just got a little bit boxed-in in the final unfortunately. It’s annoying not to finish inside the top-10, but I think we can be happy with the way we raced, it was aggressive and we showed ourselves pretty well."
Matt White (Sports Director):
"It was as we expected, it’s always a tough race but those extra two-laps just added enough metres of climb to weed out a lot of the pure sprinters, but just not enough. There were still a couple of fast guys at the end in the group with Adam and Jack, which made it hard for those two."
"The problem is, they made the selection, but the last climb is a little bit too far away from the finish to do anything different. If it was a little bit easier Daryl may have been able to scramble through, but he was in the next group behind."
"But the boys did well, they're in good condition and we’ve still got a month of racing to go, so it’s a positive sign looking forward."
Grand Prix Cycliste de Montréal 2019 Results:
1. Greg Van Avermaet (CCC Team) 6:09:38
2. Diego Ulissi (UAE-Team Emirates) ST
11. Jack Haig (Mitchelton-SCOTT) ST
Pictures courtesy of Getty Images.