Jack Haig finished 4th on Stage 1 of the Tour de France after a crash-marred stage.
The Grand Depart of the 108th Tour de France started in Brest, as riders faced a tough first day over 197 km, climbing 3,158 vertical metres. An early breakaway formed, and with 50 kilometres remaining, Schelling (BORA – Hansgrohe) was the sole rider who had a two-minute advantage over the peloton.
With 43 kilometres to go, a crash caused havoc bringing down several riders, including Haig and Colbrelli, after a fan’s sign caught Tony Martin (Jumbo-Visma). Haig and Colbrelli were able to get back up and catch the peloton along with other riders involved in the crash.
With 30 kilometres to go, the peloton closed the gap, and it was all back together. In the final ten kilometres, another crash brought down several riders, including Haller and Poels.
Colbrelli, Haig, Mohorič and Bilbao managed to get a good position on the technical last corner ahead of the final climb. In the final 2 kilometres, the eventual race winner, Alaphilippe, attacked and took the win and Yellow Jersey. Haig showed strength battling with his GC contenders finishing 4th, while Bilbao took the same time and finished 12th.
Jack Haig commented after the stage: “We went into the stage with the hope that Sonny could fight for the stage win. But during the stage, it was quite fast and technical and two hard crashes. One with around 40 kilometres to go at the top of a climb, and both Sonny and I got caught up in this crash, and it took us quite a long time to chase back to the peloton. Then there was another big crash with 7 kilometres to go, where a few of the team got caught out there.
Myself, Sonny and Matej had quite a good positioning coming into the final climb and left-hand corner, and I could see after a kilometre of the climb Sonny was suffering quite a bit. It was more of the climbing style riders doing well, and I managed to just follow some wheels and stay up there as much as possible, and to come 4th was really nice.”
Sports Director Rolf Aldag said: “Well, Stage 1 of the Tour is a little bit happy and sad at the same time. Firstly, we brought everyone to the finish line, and it seems to be an okay situation. Jack finished 4th, which was far above our expectation.
We tried to go for Sonny, but he had to invest a lot to come back after the first big crash. He had to change his bike and was already two minutes down and had to chase back and invest his power which was then missing on the final climb. Jack was able to jump in there, which is good for the GC ambitions. Pello also was able to come to the line strong, finishing 12th and staying up with the GC guys.
In the second crash, we had Haller, Fred and Poels involved, so it wasn’t great either. I think considering how other teams fared, we can be happy with Jack and Pello, but obviously a bit sad for Sonny fighting for the stage win.”
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— Simona Mazzoleni to bahraincyclingteam.com