Australian climber Jack Haig will be announced as a Bahrain McLaren rider for 2021. According to sources, the Mitchelton-Scott rider had several interested teams including Team Ineos and Movistar, but Bahrain McLaren beat off interest to sign the rider. Ineos have denied making an approach.
The 26-year-old is set to be announced as a Bahrain McLaren rider within the coming week.
Haig came up through the ranks since joining Mitchelton Scott – then known as Orica-BikeExchange – back in 2016, and has become one of the team's most reliable climbers. He has raced five Grand Tours since moving into the WorldTour, and is set to race the Giro d'Italia later this year, where he will support Simon Yates' bid for the maglia rosa.
Bahrain McLaren would not comment on the transfer when contacted, but Cyclingnews understands that the team sees Haig as an important piece in the jigsaw as they seek to challenge for the Tour de France. They signed Mikel Landa for the start of the 2020 season and are intent on giving the Spaniard at least one crack at the GC at the Tour before evaluating their Grand Tour leadership.
The squad had considered a potential move for Chris Froome, but never made a final offer, with the British four-time Tour champion eventually signing for Israel Start-Up Nation for next year.
Bahrain McLaren have already seen Ivan Cortina leave for Movistar to take on new challenges, even though the highly-rated Spaniard had been offered a new deal to stay. Signing Haig, however, is a bit of a coup for the Bahrain McLaren management after the squad went through a period of financial uncertainly.
The team are still looking for a second sponsor for 2021, with McLaren likely to step aside from that role, but the team have still been building for the future. Dylan Teuns recently re-signed on a new contract, while the team are still in the process of finalising the rest of their roster.
There had also been interest in Bob Jungels, but the Luxembourg rider is on his way to AG2R La Mondiale as they prepare for life without Romain Bardet.
While the team would not comment on the news surrounding Haig, general manager Rod Ellingworth said: "We're super happy with Dylan re-signing. And with Cortina, I think he just wanted a different opportunity. I understand why Movistar would chase him. It makes sense, and he's good friends with a lot of the riders. He's an up-and-coming Spanish talent. Why wouldn't they want him? It's a shame from our side, but he's moving on with our blessing. Good luck to him."
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