Haig holds on to take 2nd overall at Volta ValenciaSun 9 Feb 2020
26-year-old Jack Haig finished safely in the main bunch on today's final sprint stage in Volta Valencia, to secure second place overall in the general classification.
After two, fifth place finishes on the main mountainous stages, and a day in the race leader's jersey, Haig concluded his first race of the 2020 for Mitchelton-SCOTT with confidence, having shown promising form ahead of the big goals to come.
It was Tadej Pogacar (UAE Team Emirates) who claimed the overall race victory, after gaining time of yesterday's Queen stage summit finish, whilst Fabio Jakobsen (Deceuninck-Quickstep) sprinted to the win on today's final and fifth stage in Valencia city centre.
The final stage of the five-day tour began with a smaller breakaway group than previous days escaping within the first 30kilometres.
Hugo Houle (Astana Pro Team), Sergio Samitier (Movistar Team), Francesco Romano (Bardiani-CSF-Faizane) and Jon Agirre (Equipo Kern Pharma) headed out to a one-minute advantage, but were kept on a tight leash by the peloton, given the short 98kilometre stage distance.
The sprint teams controlled the pace at the front of the bunch as the kilometres ticked down, leaving the four leaders dangling out front until the final catch was made with just nine kilometres to go.
Mitchelton-SCOTT worked to try and position sprinter Luka Mezgec for the finish, whilst also keep guard of Haig, to ensure the climber finished as high up as possible, in order to secure second place overall on a count-back system.
Haig avoided the chaos of a bunch sprint finish to cross the line in 20th place, which was enough to maintain his second place and wrap up a successful week.
The Australian outfit walk away from their first race in Europe satisfied with their commitment to each daily goal, with strong teamwork and performances. They finish with with four top ten finishes, a day in the race lead and a second place finish overall.
Jack Haig - 2nd Overall
"I am super happy to come away with second on GC, it is probably a better result than we even expected. We came here mainly just to test how the winter had gone and see how my fitness was and go through the process of me practicing to be a GC leader and for the team to work towards that goal too, so also on top of that to come away with he result of second on GC is really, really good.
"The stage today was relatively easy with it being a short stage and not so much wind. both Jumbo-Visma and Deceuninck-Quickstep controlled the race knowing they had two really strong sprinters here. With around 20km to go the guys really did a great job trying to keep myself and Luka positioned well ,as there was the same time between Tao (Geoghegan Hart) and myself overall, so we couldn't lose any positions or risk any time gaps.
"I am looking forward to the next races and hopefully can capitalise on the momentum I've built here and continue the start of the season like I did last year."
Dave McPartland - Sport Director
"The guys did great today again and Haig was able to finish highly on the stage and secure his second place overall.
"It has been a good race to start the season with, we wanted a high GC result but the first focus was on the process, getting everything right and we did that well and everybody looks on the right track for the goals we have to come, so we can be happy."
2020 Volta Valencia - Stage 5 Results:
1. Fabio Jakobsen (Deceuninck-Quickstep) 2:04:32
2. Dylan Groenewegen (Team Jumbo Visma) ST
3. John Degenkolb (Lotto Soudal) ST
2020 Volta Valencia - Final General Classification:
1. Tadej Pogacar (UAE Team Emirates) 18:43:00
2. Jack Haig (Mitchelton-SCOTT) +0:06
3. Tao Geoghegan Hart (Team Ineos) ST
Photos courtesy of Getty Images