Bendigo cyclist prepares to take on the big guns in 2014
BENDIGO cyclist Jack Haig has further enhanced his status as one of Australia’s most promising riders.
The 20-year-old made his World Tour debut at the Santos Tour Down Under in Adelaide and was crowned the best young rider on Sunday.
Haig finished in 17th position overall, only 2.08 behind winner Simon Gerrans.
He was the top ranked under 23-year-old in the race, 1.09 clear of nearest rival Spain’s Carlos Verona.
Cycling with UniSA-Australia, Haig said leading into the race he was excited to have the opportunity to compete against elite cyclists.
“I was just happy to be there,” he said.
“It is such a big race, I just wanted to get my name and face out there.”
The 2013 under-23 Australian mountain bike champion said despite the nerves he was unfazed about competing against the likes of Cadel Evans.
“In the first couple of days I was nervous because I was racing against people I have watched on television,” he said.
“I was up against people I have looked up to, but as the race continued I was more confident.”
Haig said the tour was a great learning experience.
“I am happy with how I went,” he said.
“It was nice to get on the podium and get a guernsey.”
Haig will now turn his attention to the Jayco Herald-Sun Tour.
The race begins on February 5 with stage two of the tour winding up in the heart of Bendigo.
"It is always nice to ride in your home town," he said.
"I will go down to the beach to do some training and escape the heat before getting into full training later this week."
Haig said he was hoping to make a big impression in 2014.
He will compete at the Oceania Road Championships in Queensland in February before travelling to Europe in May.