Haig wins the points jersey and second overall at the Tour of Slovenia

Sun 19 Jun 2016

Young Australian Jack Haig capped an impressive debut at the Tour of Slovenia today by winning the points' jersey and claiming second on the overall general classification for ORICA-GreenEDGE.

22-year-old Haig was kept in a great position by his teammates as the wet stage unfolded over 179 difficult kilometres before Haig again became lead out man as Jens Keukeleire moved up to contest the sprint.

Crashes were occurring throughout the wet and dangerous finale, with Keukeleire unfortunately losing position in the last kilometre, but skillfully managing to stay upright as his front wheel slid from under him.

ORICA-GreenEDGE came into the race targeting stage wins and achieved this on the first stage. Keukeleire sprinted to victory and into the race lead after a great lead out from the impressive Haig.

Stage two was the mountainous Queen Stage where Haig shone again, finishing second behind eventual race winner Rein Tarramae (Katusha).

The 22-year-old Australian sealed second overall for the team after finishing in fifth place on yesterday’s individual time trial then sprinting for the line with the leaders on today’s final stage.

Christian Meier, Mitch Docker and Cheung King Lok all provided outstanding support throughout the race and symbolised the positive attitude and work ethic within the team.

Sport director Matt Wilson was very pleased with how the team performed over the course of the four-day mini stage race.

“As a team we have surpassed all expectations this week,” said a content Wilson at the end of the race. “We came here with modest goals and we go away with second overall, a stage win and the points' jersey. That really is fantastic."

“I’m super happy for Jack (Haig), he is only 22 but every day he rode very assuredly and the way he fought to hold onto the points' jersey and his second place is truly wonderful.

“The work ethic of the entire team has been second to none,” continued Wilson. “We had a small squad for this race and we were looking to use it as preparation, so to see they guys giving it their all each day has been very satisfying.

“After our result here we can approach the upcoming the upcoming races with a lot of confidence and I hope we can carry this form forward.”

How it happened:

A wet morning in Slovenia welcomed the riders to the start of the fourth and final stage. The 179kilometres parcours included three climbs before a run of fast rolling roads led the peloton to the flat finish.

The day’s breakaway formed after only ten kilometres of racing as five riders went clear and began to develop a lead.

The quintet had over four minutes on the peloton as the race covered the first two climbs of the day around 65kilometres in.

The wet weather worsened throughout the stage making the technical descents even harder to negotiate.

With 60kilometres to go and most of the climbs covered the breakaway had a falling lead of two and a half minutes.

ORICA-GreenEDGE, Katusha and Dimension-Data were doing all the work at the front of the peloton, bringing the race back together as they began the first of three circuits of the finish town Novo Mesto.

The wet cobbled roads twisted and turned around the town, making for a thrilling finale. Riders were being dropped out of the back of the bunch heading into the final few kilometres.

Haig was right up there as Dimension-Data tried to set up the sprint, the 22-year old’s jersey clearly visible as he sought to lead out Keukeleire and cement second place overall.

Keukeleire was unfortunate in the frantic finale, losing his front wheel in the cobblestones as others crashed around him. The Belgian displayed great skills to stay upright and finish in a decent position.

In the end it came down to a tight bunch sprint won by Alexander Porsev (Katusha) with Haig crossing the line just behind the bunch to win the points' jersey and second place overall.

The next race for ORICA-GreenEDGE is the big one, the Tour de France, which starts on the 2nd of July in Mont Saint-Michel. Our preview and build up to the race will be starting over the coming fortnight.

Tour of Slovenia stage four results:

1. Alexander Porsev (Katusha) 04:27:46
2. Rudi Selig (Bora-Argon18) ST
3. Kristian Sbargali (Dimension-Data) ST
18. Jack Haig (ORICA-GreenEDGE) ST

Final General Classification:

1. Rein Tarramae (Katusha) 15:10:29
2. Jack Haig (ORICA-GreenEDGE) 00:01:42 
3. Jan Barta (Bora-Argon18) 00:02:38