It was another successful Grand Tour for Team Bahrain Victorious at La Vuelta, as Jack Haig secured a podium place in the GC. Gino Mäder, who worked tremendously hard to help Jack also found himself in the top 5 in GC and wearing the white jersey Santiago de Compostela. The teamwork at the race was also rewarded by winning the Best Team Classification, adding to the tally after winning the same prize at Tour de France.
After the incredible stage 20, it was only a 34km Time Trial to the finish in Santiago de Compostela, separating the riders from solidifying their positions at the start of the day. With Adam Yates (Ineos-Grenadiers) only a minute behind Haig, it was the biggest threat to the podium place for Haig.
Haig put on an impressive display over a challenging parkour with 600m of elevation, defending his lead and securing the third position, finishing 17th on the day, beating Yates. Gino Mader also secured the white jersey and fifth in GC.
Bahrain Victorious came into this race with the goal of a podium place, and in the end, the team finish the final Grand Tour of the season with the podium place in the GC, a stage win, the Best Young rider, and Best Team prize.
Jack Haig commented on his podium finish:” Its incredible, I was just speaking to my wife saying how you always dream of getting on a podium at a Grand Tour, but I really never knew it was possible or not. It’s amazing to move to Bahrain Victorious and then having the crash at Tour, and come here with no expectations, and be third on the podium. I have no words for it, and I want to thank everyone who got me here as it doesn’t just happen overnight. It’s not just a years work and there are so many people I’d like to thank along the way that helped me.
I will keep approaching racing the way I do, as long as I’m happy with the right people around me and enjoy it. If you’ve got that, then the results come, and I couldn’t be happier.”
Gino Mäder was delighted with winning the best young rider: “Wow, it’s unbelievable for me, and the whole thing just fell into my hands yesterday. I was already happy before with my provisional 8th in GC and being amongst the best climbers in this race.
Now I’m sitting here in the white jersey having helped Jack on the podium and I’m a little bit lost for words. In the end it’s a fifth place, and there are a lot of really strong riders. It’s unexpected and maybe a bit too good, and I take it and I hope it’s not my last time in the top 5 in the GC.
Gorazd Štangelj:” We did some really amazing things here. We came here for Mikel after his success at Burgos, but unfortunately had some difficulty. We reacted fast and reset the roles in the team and the guys all did the maximum from the first to the last stage. Let’s look back at how windy it was in the first week which didn’t really suite us, and we struggled a lot on those days but we were able to do a great job with minimum losses. When the mountain stages came we got a victory with Damiano and then we had a good period.
We had a good plan for the next two weeks. I’m really happy for Gino to get this confirmation of his ability and for his future, he can be a GC rider. I was really sorry after Jack’s crash in Tour de France, but he bounced back and did a great job to get on the podium in the GC, which is a beautiful moment for him and the team.”
(All pictures can be used for editorial and non-commercial usages only and are copyright @Bettiniphoto @TeamBahrainVictorious)
— Simona Mazzoleni to bahraincyclingteam.com