Jack Haig will make his race debut for Bahrain Victorious at the four-day Tour de la Provence (February 11-14) alongside Heinrich Haussler, Wout Poels, and Dylan Teuns.
The French race has been boosted by a huge turn out from WorldTour teams this year due to several other high profile races falling by the wayside due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Bahrain Victorious is set to send a team that competes in the sprints and uphill stages.
Haig moved to the team at the end of last year after starting his professional career at Mitchelton-Scott. The Australian isn’t sure where his form is compared to his rivals but will use the French race to embed himself into his new surroundings before taking on WorldTour events later this spring.
“I am excited but also a little nervous,” he admitted. “That will be my first race with the new team, and it’s also a race I haven’t done before.
“I think it will be a good race to know how the team works and how I fit into the team. It’s also some rehearsal for some of the big races coming up, especially the UAE Tour, which will be my first race directly after Tour de la Provence.”
Another new arrival at Bahrain Victorious is directeur sportif Rolf Aldag. The German was an integral part of the Dimension Data management set up but publicly clashed with team owner Doug Ryder over the decision to leave Mark Cavendish out of the 2019 Tour de France line-up.
Aldag spent last year director at the Canyon-SRAM women’s team but has now returned to the men’s peloton as Bahrain-Victorious look to rebuild after a management overhaul that saw Rod Ellingworth and John Allert both leave during the winter.
“We had a super good training camp with the whole team, and now we are looking forward to scoring results in the first race of the season. We will consider every stage like a one day race and fight for the win. Phil Bauhaus will fight on the sprint stages, Dylan on the hilly stages and, Jack, Dylan, and Wout during the GC showdown halfway up to the Mont Ventoux.”
“It is always tough to predict the first race of the season since we don’t know how well prepared our competitors are and how they trained during the winter. That’s why we won’t wait to see what others will do but ride with an offensive strategy from the very beginning.”
Teuns comes into the race targeting a stage win but the Belgian might well be the team’s best GC candidate.
The 28-year-old is a typically strong starter to the season and kicked off 2021 with top-five results in both Valenciana and Ruta del Sol.
“I’m motivated to race again, and the Tour de la Provence is a perfect start, with a few stages that fit me very well,” Teuns said.
Team Bahrain Victorious’ line-up for Tour de la Provence: Phil Bauhaus, Jack Haig, Heinrich Haussler, Gino Mäder, Wout Poels, Dylan Teuns and Fred Wright.
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