Haig finishes in fourth place overall at Paris-Nice with Yates 8th on the final stageSun 17 Mar 2019
Australian rider Jack Haig moved up on the overall classification today to finish Paris-Nice in fourth place after climbing well throughout the final mountainous stages.
Haig was able to climb with the best on yesterday’s Queen stage and today’s short stage around Nice to secure his overall placing with Egan Bernal (Team Sky) the rider coming out on top, claiming the overall race victory after a hard chase from Team Sky today.
Stage five winner Simon Yates made into a select group on today and eventially finished in eight place with Ion Izaguirre (Astana Pro Team) taking a solo stage win.
First large group breakaway
In vast contrast to last year’s final stage in in Nice, the riders headed to the start line with sunny conditions and under bright blue skies.
After 14kilometres Matteo Trentin broke away from the bunch along with Nils Politt (Katusha), Amael Moinard (Arkea Samsic) and Niccolo Bonifazio (Direct Energie). By the time they reached the top of the first climb of the short day, more riders had bridged across and made the group 16 riders strong and soon after the group swelled once again to 37 riders, with Yates also making the junction.
Trentin goes on the attack
The European champion decide to jump away from the group with two others Tejay van Garderen (EF Education First) and Juliet el Fares (Delko Marseille Provence) joining him after the second climb of the day. The trio opened up an advantage of 50seconds over the chasers with the bunch a further one minute 40seconds behind.
Changes at the front on the first category climb
The attacks began to fly from the main peloton as they started the first category climb the Côte de Peille. Nairo Quintana (Movistar) was the one to make the move which caused a big change up to the front of the race. The original large ground group was brought back together and a select group of 10riders, including Yates, jumped away and led the race.
Behind race leaders Team Sky with Egan Bernal had missed the dangerous move and the general classification battle began. Haig followed the wheels of Team Sky with Yates ahead, no threat to the GC, able to sit comfortable in the leading group.
Many attacks came in the final from the leading group but it was Izaguirre who made the race winning move inside the final 10kilometres. His effort proved to be enough to hold on for a solo win with Yates taking eighth place across the line.
Mitchelton-SCOTT switched their plans mid-way through the race after Yates was out of the classification running having lost time on an early crosswind stage, Haig was then given full support for the overall and in the end the team finish a successful tour with one stage win with Yates and fourth overall with Haig.
“It is pretty amazing to finish fourth to be honest and through a couple of different circumstances the team plan changed and I was very lucky to have all the team behind me for the majority of the week. To go top five in a pretty prestigious race is pretty special.
“Today Team Sky did their general tactic of riding a really solid pace basically from the start today and people are attacking and they just set their tempo. I just sat tight and sat behind them and paced myself and at one point I felt a bit pinned but I just held my breath and waited behind Sky and that was enought to move up and finish in fourth place so I am super happy.”
Matt Wilson - Sport Director
“We had in the back of our minds that Simon could do a good GC here and we were quietly confident of that but whatever happened happened in those first couple of days so then we switched targets and went for stage wins and for Jack Haig with the GC.
“If you take that into account it was a fantastic week and we said with the GC if it is possible for him to get top five that would be amazing and he’s finished fourth and we also got the stage win with Simon so it has been a very successful week.”
Paris-Nice - Stage 8 Results:
1. Ion Izaguirre (Astana Pro Team) 2:41:10
2. Oliver Naesen (AG2R) +0:18
3. Wilko Kelderman (Team Subweb) +0:18
8. Simon Yates (Mitchelton-SCOTT) +0:20
Paris-Nice - Final General Classification:
1. Egan Bernal (Team Sky) 29:17:02
2. Nairo Quintana (Movistar) +0:39
3. Michal Kwiatkowski (Team Sky) +1:03
4. Jack Haig (Mitchelton-SCOTT) +1:21
Photos courtesy of Getty Images