Haig picks the move to finish 3rd at GP Bruno BeghelliSun 6 Oct 2019
Australian Jack Haig sprinted to third place from a select group after an attacking finale to the GP Bruno Beghelli in Monteveglio.
The 26-year-old jumped clear of the peloton with six other riders in the closing kilometres as they held off the pack to contest the win.
Three riders soon established the breakaway as the peloton rolled out of Monteveglio for a long loop before returning to the city for 10-laps of a circuit centred around the Zappolino climb.
The peloton were content to allow the trio to get over 10-minutes down the road before pegging the gap back as they approached the circuit. The advantage was down below seven minutes as the pack crossed the finish line for the first time and the tempo increased.
The break were eventually brought back with 42-kilometres to go as the race reset and teams set about forming their game plan for the remaining laps. A dangerous looking attack soon went clear with Italian Edoardo Affini infiltrating the seven-rider move for Mitchelton-SCOTT.
The group opened up a gap of 15-seconds on the field with 25-kilometres remaining, but the peloton soon closed the move down as it all came back together once more with 20-kilometres remaining. A number of riders were keen to avoid a reduced bunch sprint and two riders clipped off the front as the race hit the final lap.
The pair were caught as counter attacks were launched up the Zappolino, but despite attempts to get away the bunch closed down any attackers. The day was looking set for a reduced bunch sprint, however, a group of seven had different ideas as Haig jumped away from the field in the select group inside the final five-kilometres.
With a mix of teams represented the chase stalled, and the winner looked set to come from the leading group as they passed under the flamme rouge. With fast finishers amongst the attackers, Haig was always up against it in a sprint, but still battled to a podium spot behind winner Sonny Colbrelli (Team Bahrain-Merida).
“The team rode really well today, especially covering a lot of the late moves that were coming with four laps to go.
"It was a very aggressive race on the climb but also on the back flatter section of the race and everyone started positioning quite well when we got closer to the final. We always had someone in every little move that was going away so everyone rode together very well.
“The late move that I was involved in came about with 700m to go of the last climb. It had been quite hard until that point and then a few people put in attacks here and there and I followed some wheels. As we crossed the top there were more gaps opening up and I managed to jump across. Initially it was just (Alejandro) Valverde, (Bauke) Mollema and I and then a couple of the others guys like Cortina and Colbrelli came across.
“I obviously knew that in the group there Colbrelli was the fastest guy and I tried to line him up in the sprint. In the end Valverde squeezed me off his wheel a little bit and I followed him in for third but I’m very happy with the result.”
“In general it was a very aggressive edition, probably the most aggressive edition of the last few years at least.
"There was only a few teams with big sprinters and the other 15 teams or so we trying to break the race up. It made for a hard day, and a really hard last 50km.
"Every decent move that went down the road we had guys in there and in general the guys did a super job.
"When we came into the final Haigy was in a good move that went away. Ideally it would have been good to have a fast guy in with him but it went on the climb so he just followed.
"Really, for Jack it shows his condition and that he is in good form. It’s almost like a win for us to have a climber sprinting to third, so all in all a pretty good day really.”