Haig shines on the Queen Stage and climbs up to third in SloveniaSat 17 Jun 2017
Former Tour Down Under best young rider Jack Haig yet again showed his climbing pedigree on the Queen Stage of the Tour of Slovenia today to finish in third place after a classic three-way battle up the final climb to Rogla.
Starting the day in the race leaders green jersey stage two winner Luka Mezgec did the jersey and ORICA-SCOTT proud, leading the favourites group onto the challenging climb up the finish once the breakaway had finally been caught.
The pace was high throughout and in no time at all there were only eight riders left at the front, before repeated attacks by Rafal Majka (Bora-Hansgrohe) whittled it down to three with only Haig and Giovanni Visconti (Bahrain-Merida) able to follow the Polish champion.
A real dog fight followed with attack after attack coming from Majka who only succeeded in breaking free with 100metres to go, taking the stage win and the race lead at the same time. Haig acquitted himself admirably and crossed the line just behind Visconti in third and up to third overall with one more day to go.
“It was a great race up that final climb, really exciting cycling,” said sport director Matt Wilson. “Jack did very, very well. He hasn’t been feeling too good over the last couple of days and had to fight hard to stay with Majka, who was super strong. We are very happy with the result and satisfied with our position going into the last stage.”
“We came here wanting to do well on the general classification, we got the jersey yesterday with Luka and now we are on course for a podium spot which we will be happy with. Luka really showed his class today, he wanted to stay up there for as long as possible and it was fantastic to see him pulling late onto the final climb.
“There will be another opportunity for a stage win tomorrow and we will be going for it, the team have been riding well over the last three days and the boys are certainly not lacking in motivation to succeed.”
How it happened:
Today’s 167kilometre queen stage got underway in warm and slightly humid conditions and as with the previous two stages the first attacks came out of the neutral zone and formed the early breakaway.
Six riders took the initiative and held around six minutes over the peloton after 60kilometres of racing, ORICA-SCOTT were present at the front of the bunch throughout, but it was Bora-Hansgrohe who started to bring things back together around the halfway point.
With 40kilometres remaining and the tough climb up to the finish in Rogla up ahead, the lead group had halved and slipped to within 30seconds of the main field.
Mezgec in the leaders jersey, Haig and Juul Jensen were all part of the fast moving front group led by Bahrain-Merida that caught the break as they hit the low slopes of the final climb with 15kilometres to go.
The bunch split heavily as the pace and the gradient started to take its toll with Mezgec doing the jersey proud and incredibly moving to the front in service of Haig to set the tempo into the last ten kilometres.
Repeated attacks from Majka split the group with only Haig and Visconti able to follow. An epic battle ensued between the trio with Majka finally going clear over the last 100metres to take the stage win with Visconti in second and Haig in third.
Tour of Slovenia stage three results:
1. Rafal Majka (Bora-Hansgrohe) 04:33:40
2. Giovanni Visconti (Bahrain-Merida) +0:04
3. Jack Haig (ORICA-SCOTT) +0:12
General classification after stage three:
1. Rafal Majka (Bora-Hansgrohe) 12:14:07
2. Giovanni Visconti (Bahrain-Merida) +0:08
3. Jack Haig (ORICA-SCOTT) +0:18
Photos courtesy of ©TDWsport.com