Haig takes second on tough stage two and second overall at the Tour of Slovenia

Fri 17 Jun 2016

Jack Haig continued the run of good form for ORICA-GreenEDGE at the Tour of Slovenia by finishing in second place on today’s mountainous Queen Stage, moving into second on the general classification.

The 22-year-old Australian impressed yet again today after ORICA-GreenEDGE led the race for 217 brutal kilometres that ended with a difficult fight to the summit finish in Golte.

Rein Taaramae (Katusha) took the stage win, after Haig and the Katusha rider attacked off the front in the final five kilometres.

Canadian powerhouse Christian Meier controlled the front of the peloton for an astonishing 180kilometres to keep ORICA-GreenEDGE in an excellent position ahead of tomorrow’s individual time trial.

Sport director Matt Wilson praised the efforts of the five-man team on a truly difficult stage today.

“The whole team were genuinely outstanding today,” said Wilson. “We really performed incredibly and gave it everything to try and defend the leader's jersey.

“Christian (Meier) literally pulled all day and Jens Keukeleire returned the favour for Jack (Haig) by leading him onto the final climb and staying with him for as long as possible.

“Everyone really did a great job and I can’t praise them enough,” continued Wilson. “Jack is only 22 and he is developing very quickly, to come so close to a stage win at this level on this parcours is very impressive.”

“Tomorrow’s time trial route is half flat and half uphill and you can be sure that we are going to give it everything to try and get that leader's jersey back.”

How it happened:

The Tour of Slovenia Queen stage began under overcast and grey skies with ORICA-GreenEDGE the principal team at the start, lined up around race leader and stage one winner Keukeleire.

The start was a little slower than yesterday with 217kilometres and numerous categorised climbs ahead. Eventually, a breakaway of three riders formed after 30kilometres of racing.

The trio of leaders had developed a lead of around four minutes after over 100kilometres had been covered with Meier in control at the front of the peloton for ORICA-GreenEDGE.

The tough parcours was ideal for the breakaway and they continued to stretch their advantage. With 70kilometres remaining the gap stood at more than five minutes with the peloton happy to let it sit.

Dropping to four minutes on the penultimate climb, the lead of the three escapees was finally starting to fall. The trio began to break up, as did the peloton with the intensifying chase of ORICA-GreenEDGE at the front.

The climb to the finish in Golte was the most brutal of the stage and the race with an average gradient of 7.3% for 15kilometres and a maximum of 23%.

With 10kilometres to go there was only one member of the original break left up the road with only 25seconds on the chasing bunch and stage one winner Keukeleire leading Haig up to the front.

The field came back together only eight kilometres from the finish after strong work from ORICA-GreenEDGE.

Haig attacked off the front with Taaramae and Egan Arley Bernal (Androni-Giocatelli) in the final three kilometres. The trio battled it out on the tough, fluctuating gradients up to the line.

Taaramae just got the better of Haig to take the stage win but the young Australian continues to excel in the high European mountains.

Tomorrow’s third stage is an individual time trial covering 16.8kilometres from Celje to Celjska Koca. Half flat and half uphill the parcours is in an interesting and challenging one.

Tour of Slovenia stage two results:

1. Rein Taaramae (Katusha) 05:46:40
2. Jack Haig (ORICA-GreenEDGE) 00:00:36
3. Egan Arley Bernal (Androni-Giocatelli) 00:00:50

General classification after stage two:

1. Rein Taaramae (Katusha) 10:14:16
2. Jack Haig (ORICA-GreenEDGE) 00:00:36
3. Egan Arley Bernal (Androni-Giocatelli) 00:00:50