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Tour de France: Haig leads GC ambitions as Bahrain Victorious eye 21 one-day races

Jack Haig (Bahrain Victorious)
Jack Haig (Bahrain Victorious) (Image credit: Bettini Photo)

While Jack Haig will target the overall standings in the Tour de France the rest of the Bahrain Victorious team will target stage wins with sports director Rolf Aldag claiming that the team ‘is prepared to take on every single stage, like one-day races.’

Haig moved to the team over the winter from Mitchelton-Scott and has had a solid start to the season. The 27-year-old finished in the top ten in Paris-Nice earlier this spring and recently cracked the top-five in the Critérium du Dauphiné. 

His best Grand Tour finish came in 2018, when he finished 19th in the Vuelta a España but this Tour de France will mark his first attempt at riding for himself over three weeks. With Wout Poels and Pello Bilbao flanking him the Australian will be looking to survive the first week and then come into his own as the race develops – first through the Alps and then in the Pyrenees.

“The whole team is super motivated to entertain fans of cycling all around the world with an aggressive way of racing,” Aldag said in a press release issued by the team on Friday evening.

“The Tour is the biggest stage for us to show our passion, commitment, and desire to race. We take a lot of confidence into the Tour from the results we achieved as a team in 2021 and will fight to keep the spirit high. Our team is prepared to take on every single stage, like one-day races. The eight riders who are representing the team all showed that they deserve a place in the race, but let’s not forget our strong riders who are serving as reserves, for now, ready to jump in, in case we need them.”

Bahrain-Victorious have enjoyed a rather miraculous few weeks. Veteran Damiano Caruso won a stage and cracked the podium at the Giro d’Italia, and in doing so gained the best result of his entire career with second place behind Egan Bernal (Ineos Grenadiers). Mark Padun won back-to-back mountain stages in the Dauphine, while Gino Mader picked up a stage win at the Tour de Suisse.

Neither Mader nor Padun have made the team for the Tour de France but in Sonny Colbrelli – another stage winner in the Dauphine, and Dylan Teuns, the team has options for all sorts of terrain.

“The team comes to the Tour following great performances. Our selection of riders puts us in good stead to battle for GC and be proactive across other stages,” said Performance Director Roger Hammond.

“Obviously, after the Dauphiné, there was the temptation to take Mark Padun to the Tour. The same goes for Gino Mäder after his Giro and Tour de Suisse wins. However, these are young talents in the team with other goals this season, and the team has a responsibility to look at the longer-term project for these riders.”

Matej Mohoric and Fred Wright will provide plenty of cover and will aim to infiltrate breaks, while Poels and Bilbao will offer steel and experience in the high mountains.