Giro d'Italia: Hats off to Haig as he shepherds Chaves to victory on Etna

Australian set for key role helping Mitchelton-Scott teammates

While Mitchelton-Scott's Esteban Chaves and Simon Yates took the plaudits as stage winner and new race leader, respectively, on Thursday's sixth stage of the Giro d'Italia to Mount Etna, their teammate Jack Haig was very much 'man of the match'.

Australian Haig was instrumental in the team's successful haul at the end of stage 6, getting into the day's main 25-man breakaway and working hard for Chaves to help maintain the break's advantage, before Chaves was able to launch himself away from what was left of the group with 5km of the stage to go.

"Today was pretty perfect," a delighted Haig said after the stage. "We managed to get that massive group away at the start, and having me and Esteban in there was perfect.

"We co-operated pretty well for a big group," Haig continued, "and for Esteban to get the stage win and Simon to get the jersey, it shows how strong the team is and makes me excited for what we can do in this Giro."

Heading towards the slower slopes of the climb, Haig was doing everything to ensure that the break kept their advantage, and, his job done for the day, he was swallowed up by the bunch with just over 10km to go, as Chaves readied his attack.

Haig had provided more than a glimpse of what he was capable of by winning one of the toughest climbing stages at last year's Tour de Pologne. It was Haig's first professional victory, and he dedicated the win to his late father after attacking alone with 20km to go.

By rights, 24-year-old Haig shouldn't really have been in a condition to have helped as much as he did during Thursday's stage to Etna. His Mitchelton-Scott teammates would have understood if he'd needed to take a few more days to recuperate having crashed hard during the opening stage time trial in Jerusalem last Friday.

Clearly, Haig's excitement for what he and his Mitchelton-Scott teammates can achieve at this Giro has helped him to put that misfortune to the back of his mind and concentrate on the task at hand.

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