Having finished 39th overall at both the Tour de Romandie and Criterium du Dauphine, Jack Haig's recent results weren't exactly eye catching but suggested the first year neo-pro was starting to find his rhythm in the WorldTour ranks. The 22-year-old Orica-GreenEdge rider started his year with fifth place at the Jayco Herald Sun Tour, a race by Team Sky's Chris Froome, and has now recorded his first podium result with second at the Tour de Slovénie.
Having started the race with the modest expectations of stage wins, Orica-GreenEdge immediately met its objectives as Jens Keukeleire won stage 1 from Ljubljana to Koper. Haig then went close on the queen stage to Golte, finishing 36 seconds down on Rein Taaramäe (Katusha), to move into second place where he would remain until the conclusion of the race.
"As a team we have surpassed all expectations this week," said sports director Matt Wilson 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."
With three top-ten results from the four stages, Haig was only bettered by Taaramäe, an experienced professional with two grand tour stage wins and nine years in the pro peloton under his belt. There was slight consolation for Haig as he won the points classification and took home the red jersey.
"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," Wilson said of the 2015 Tour de L'Avenir runner up.
Wilson also praised the five-rider team for their efforts across the four stages and for making the race despite being down on numbers.
"The work ethic of the entire team has been second to none. 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," Wilson said.
"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."
Several of Orica-GreenEdge's European riders will compete in their national championships this coming week before the team lines up at the Tour de France from July 2, and the Tour de Pologne from July 12-18.