Australian rider Jack Haig will lead the Bahrain Victorious team at the Tour de France with close support from Spaniard Pello Bilbao and Dutchman Wout Poels, the team announced on Friday. The 27-year-old Haig has been in solid form this season, finishing seventh in the Paris-Nice and fifth in the Criterium Dauphine. Poels and Bilbao will support in the mountains while for the flat stages, Haig will be able to call on experienced road captain Marco Haller and 22-year-old sprinter Fred Wright.
Bilbao, 31, who has already raced the Giro this season, took 16th place in the Tour last year. Poels, 33, has finished sixth in the Vuelta twice.
“Our team is prepared to take on every single stage, like one-day races,” said sporting director Rolf Aldag.
The Ukrainian Mark Padun, however, who caused a sensation by winning the last two stages of the recent Dauphine, was left out along with the experienced Spaniard Mikel Landa, who has not raced since breaking a collarbone in a fall at the Giro.
“Obviously, after the Dauphine, there was the temptation to take Mark Padun to the Tour. The same goes for Gino Mader after his Giro and Tour de Suisse wins,” said performance director Roger Hammond.
“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.”
The team will also field in-form Italian sprinter Sonny Colbrelli, 2019 Tour de France stage winner Dylan Teuns and the Slovenian Matej Mohoric, a stage winner in the Giro and the Vuelta.
Mohoric figured prominently in May at the Giro d’Italia until his spectacular crash and retirement in the ninth stage.
The Tour de France embarks from the western region of Brittany on June 26 and the 21 stage event winds up in Paris on July 18.
Bahrain Victorious 2021 Tour de France Roster
Pello Bilbao (ESP)
Sonny Colbrelli (ITA)
Jack Haig (AUS)
Marco Haller (AUT)
Matej Mohoric (SLO)
Wout Poels (NED)
Dylan Teuns (BEL)
Fred Wright (GBR)
RBA/AFP Photos: Bettini