Haga: I have nothing holding me back now

Chad Haga’s 12th place finish on the opening-day time trial at the Giro d’Italia might seem like a remarkable comeback tale, but the American and his team are keen not to view it as such.

Haga was the rider worst affected when a car ploughed into a group of Giant-Alpecin riders on a training ride in Spain in late January, needing 98 stitches from his face to his sternum. Just two months later he was racing again at Criterium International, and a few weeks on, he is putting in impressive displays at the highest level, currently sitting ninth overall at the Giro.

Haga and his team, however, don’t want his performances to be viewed as ‘good’ in the light of what happened at the start of this year, but as ‘good’ per se.

“The thing for Chad was not to be a good cyclist in relation to the accident that happened. If you finish 12th here it’s a good result, totally disconnected from the accident,” Giant-Alpecin manager explained to Cyclingnews in Arnhem at the Giro.

“It’s not a case of ‘ah this happened to you, it was good’. This was just, really good. Almost top 10 in a Grand Tour prologue. That means we leave it behind.”

Haga himself took great heart from his time trial ride and, like his manager, is looking ahead rather than behind.

More on this story:
Giro d'Italia: Kittel wins stage 3
Giro d'Italia stage 3: Finish line quotes
Lefevere blasts other sprint teams at Giro d’Italia

“I was shooting for a top 10 but I’d have been happy with top 20 or 25. I knew I was capable of a good ride it was just a matter of doing it. The Giro has been on my calendar the whole time so it’s always been a big focus."

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Patrick Fletcher
Deputy Editor

Deputy Editor. Patrick is an NCTJ-trained journalist who has seven years’ experience covering professional cycling. He has a modern languages degree from Durham University and has been able to put it to some use in what is a multi-lingual sport, with a particular focus on French and Spanish-speaking riders. After joining Cyclingnews as a staff writer on the back of work experience, Patrick became Features Editor in 2018 and oversaw significant growth in the site’s long-form and in-depth output. Since 2022 he has been Deputy Editor, taking more responsibility for the site’s content as a whole, while still writing and - despite a pandemic-induced hiatus - travelling to races around the world. Away from cycling, Patrick spends most of his time playing or watching other forms of sport - football, tennis, trail running, darts, to name a few, but he draws the line at rugby.