Haig maintains 4th overall after another high placing on stage 2 in Ruta del SolThu 20 Feb 2020
Australian climber Jack Haig continued with consistency today, sprinting to fifth place on an uphill drag at the end of stage two in Ruta del Sol.
The Mitchelton-SCOTT rider crossed the line just four seconds down on the stage winner Gonzalo Serrano (Caja-Rural), who held on for the victory after a late suprise attack.
The high stage placing keeps Haig in fourth position overall with three hard and hilly stages still to come.
Five get a gap
At the beginning of the 198kilometre day, five riders were able to open up an advantage early on and headed away from the main bunch. Taco Van Der Hoorne (Jumbo-Visma), Matthew Holmes (Lotto-Soudal), Alexis Gougeart (AG2R La Mondiale), Jerome Cousin (Total Direct Energie) and Juan Osorio (Burgos BH) were able to reach a maximum advantage of six and a half minutes, with the bunch behind in no hurry to make the catch.
As the peloton headed over two of the three, third category climbs of the stage, the race remained much the same with the leaders maintaining their solid advantage.
Climb before a sprint
Once the race entered the final 50kilometres, the leader’s time gap plummeted down and the final catch was made with 15kilometres to go, just in time for the final third category climb.
Fresh attacks came from the bunch as they headed up and over the top of the climb, but multiple teams worked to keep a high pace and try to keep things together for the finish. With a technical run-in to the uphill drag, the peloton strung out and positioning became key.
Serrano caught everyone off guard, launching an attack with around 700metres to go and was able to hold on to claim the stage win for Caja-Rural.
Behind, riders began to go backwards as the road ramped up and the uphill sprint unfolded. Sprinter Alex Edmondson found himself pushed out of positon early on and so GC leader Haig came to the fore in the closing metres to take fifth place, crossing the line just four seconds down on the stage winner, to maintain his fourth place overall.
“We were going to see how the stage planned out to decide if it was going to be for myself or for Edmondson but we went into the stage knowing it was all about trying to protect my position on GC. If Alex happened to be there then he would have a chance.
“The final was quite technical, we had a relatively fast climb with around 15km to go and that’s were positioning needed to be made once we arrived to the top.
“The last two or three kilometres going down to the final bridge before the final climb was really fast. The climb was interesting, with Movistar and a couple of other teams having a go early on. I had Brent Bookwalter putting me in really good position and then Andrey Zeits took it up mid-way through the climb and chased down Sonny Cobrelli.
“I found out the hard way that 200metres is quite a long way when you’re going up hill and maybe started my sprint early, but I am happy with my position there. I wish I was consistently higher placed but it still not such a bad thing.
“I think tomorrow's stage will all depend on how it is raced, the climb just before the finish is not super hard but we also have a short steep kick up towards the final. There is a lot of climbing but it will depend also on what the breakaway does.
“Both Edoardo Affini and Alex Konychev did a great job keeping me out the wind and Konychev is finding his place nicely in the team already which is good to see.”
Laurenzo Lapage - Sport Director
"Edmondson got pushed out of position in the final and without that happening he would have tried something early on on the climb and then Haig was ready in case they took him back.
"Haig did it perfect and we can hope for more in the next days. Everyone showed that they are were they have to be for this moment and we look enthusiastically forward to the next days and months to come."
2020 Ruta del Sol - Stage 2 Results:
1. Gonzalo Serrano (Caja-Rural) 5:07:49
2. Juan Lobato (Fundacion-Orbea) +0:02
3. Dylan Teuns (Bahrain-McLaren) +0:02
5. Jack Haig (Mitchelton-SCOTT) +0:04
General Classification after stage 2:
1. Jakob Fuglsang (Astana Pro Team) 9:49:01
2. Mikel Landa (Bahrain-McLaren) +0:06
3. Dylan Teuns (Bahrain-McLaren) +0:23
4. Jack Haig (Mitchelton-SCOTT) +0:27
Photos courtesy of Getty Images