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Tour de France

Jack Haig calls Jumbo-Visma the ‘clear favorites’ for the Tour de France

Bahrain-Victorious duo climb into fourth and fifth, but tip hats to the Dutch team after dominant week at the Dauphiné.

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BONNEVILLE, France (VN) — Jack Haig stated the obvious Sunday after Jumbo-Visma blew up the Critérium du Dauphiné — the Dutch team will be favorites for the Tour de France next month.

The Australian on Bahrain-Victorious added a caveat, and said it all depends on how Tadej Pogačar does at the Tour of Slovenia next week.

“Jumbo-Visma are the clear favorites now,” Haig said at the line after climbing to fifth overall.

“The first couple of days were quite interesting. At first I was a bit ‘meh’ about them, but they put all those doubts to bed the last couple of days.

“A lot of it depends on what Pogačar does,” said Haig, who hit the podium last year at the Vuelta a España with third overall. “At the moment, we haven’t seen Pogačar in a while. So if Pogačar destroys everyone at Slovenia, then we will have a good battle on our hands.”

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Jumbo-Visma sent a message to its Tour rivals this weekend, with Primož Roglič and Jonas Vingegaard finishing first and second on Sunday’s hors categorie summit finish, and Roglič wrapping up the GC, and Vingegaard taking second.

The Dutch team had never won the Dauphiné or even finished on the podium before on the key Tour de France warmup. Now it’s won and placed second, plus the green points jersey with Wout van Aert, and the team prize as well.

Haig tried to put up the good fight Sunday. Along with Bahrain-Victorious teammate Damiano Caruso, the pair went deep, but couldn’t shake Ben O’Connor.

The pair finished fourth and fifth, with fellow Australian O’Connor fending them off to claim the final podium spot.

“All the work at altitude in Sierra Nevada is paying off,” Haig said. “Kruijswijk set a vicious pace, and then Jonas and Primož just said ‘see ya’ at the top. There’s nothing more to say than good job to them.”

Caruso and Haig crossed the line 55 seconds behind the leading Jumbo-Visma pair, but it wasn’t enough to hit the podium. O’Connor hung on, but the team finishes fourth and fifth overall after Tao Geoghegan Hart (Ineos Grenadiers) couldn’t match the pace, and tumbled out of fourth into eighth.

“We tried to play our cards for Caruso, and we said let’s just have a good test on the final climb, and do our own race,” Haig said. “I tried to give myself a big push and hopefully Caruso moved up.”

The 28-year-old Haig will return for his third Tour next month. After abandoning last year and finishing 38th in his debut in 2019, Haig said he’s hoping to fight for a top GC spot and to try to win a stage.

Haig and his teammates are coming out of the Dauphiné knowing that Jumbo-Visma, at least right now, are a step ahead.

Jack Haig, shown here at sign-in, said Jumbo-Visma will be tough to beat in the Tour. (Photo: Dario Belingheri/Getty Images)