The a hundred and tenth version of the Tour de France has delivered pleasure and head-to-head motion amongst the biking world’s best skills. Because the Tour enters its remaining weeks, we obtained to take a seat down with Australian climbing powerhouse Jack Haig from Crew Bahrain Victorious for a fast interview. We talk about all the pieces from World Tour tire choice, climbing-specific bikes (and paint), favourite on-the-bike meals, and tips on how to keep away from overly excited followers. Get pleasure from!
BikeRumor: The 2023 Tour de France is continuous motion for us watching; I can’t picture what you all are going by truly racing it. How has the Tour been for you this far? Are you cheerful for the remainder day?
Jack Haig: To be sincere, this Tour has in all probability been probably the most intense grand excursions I’ve ever performed; I believe it’s a mixture of many issues. However the race route this 12 months has actually led to some thrilling racing, and with Pogacar and Jonas so shut in capability, which has meant they’ve wanted to try to check one another at each alternative.
BR: You have been a last-minute addition for the Tour and simply got here off the Giro. How did you alter your coaching and get well so rapidly?
JH: I used to be additionally a last-minute choice for Dauphine as properly, after which after Dauphine went comparatively properly, the workforce got here up with the thought to do the tour, and I used to be pleased to tackle the problem. I mainly haven’t skilled correctly since earlier than the Tour of the Alps. After Dauphine, I went on a small vacation with the household, then just one and a half weeks at residence earlier than leaving for the tour.
BR: The Tour is nearing its crescendo within the excessive mountains, and weight is seemingly all the pieces. Are there many bike or gear adjustments the workforce does to prep for the Alps?
JH: We’ve got some particular frames with out paint for the climbers within the workforce to avoid wasting just a little little bit of weight. We additionally use the TT tyres from Continental as a result of they’re a tiny bit lighter, and we have now two completely different Imaginative and prescient wheels, a shallower/lighter model, and a deeper, extra aero wheel—in any other case, not many adjustments.
BR: Consuming lunch on the bike for 3 weeks appears…tough. Is there a meals or merchandise in your musette that excites you if you get it?
JH: We’ve got some particular rice cake made with puffed rice, and generally even coco pops as a substitute of the puffed rice, after which they’re blended with marshmallows. I fairly take pleasure in these, however the racing has been so arduous I haven’t had many alternatives to benefit from the meals on the bike.
BR: Fan and car interference has been within the information currently. Riders should learn the race and the throngs of followers round them. Is it arduous to experience being so surrounded by followers? Are you all the time alert for a rogue bag, telephone, or animal which may take out a rider?
JH: As skilled biking will get more and more fashionable, it could possibly change into much more of an issue. It’s arduous as a result of, as a sport, we’d like the followers, and it’s additionally a fairly iconic a part of our sport, however when it influences the race or causes crashes, it’s actually not very good. I’m not sure what we are able to do to assist or change this going ahead. I’m additionally shocked we don’t have extra incidents contemplating what number of shut calls we’ve had.
BR: Crew Bahrain Victorious rides Merida Bikes, and we largely see the riders attain for the Merida Reacto; a extra aero-all-around design body. For the Alps, will you experience the Merida Scultra for the load financial savings, or is aerodynamics the important metric?
JH: I nearly solely use the Scultra, Merida did a superb job at making the brand new Scultra very near the Reacto by way of aerodynamics and it’s significantly lighter and has a nicer feeling when climbing.
BR: Tire discuss — we (non-World Tour riders) all love wider tires. 26-30mm tires appear to be the brand new commonplace for street driving, identical with tubeless and hookless. Has Crew Bahrain Victorious gone all in on tubeless, or is the tech simply not fairly there for the calls for of the World Tour? Is the workforce on most 26mm tires, or do you turn widths relying on the stage’s calls for?
JH: We at Crew Bahrain Victorious solely use tubeless wheels and tires, and customarily, we use 28mm continental tires. The one factor we alter is continental make a TT-specific tire, and we use these clearly in TT’s but in addition some mountain levels as a result of it’s rather less weight.
BR: You’ve had an excellent busy 12 months — what does the subsequent couple of months appear to be? Day off for a vacation with the household or again to work?
JH: To be sincere, I’m not 100% positive what I will likely be doing after the tour. Possibly Classica San Sebastian, after which after that, I’m probably not positive. Hopefully, I get just a little time to spend with my household as a result of it’s been a really intense 12 months with a whole lot of time away from residence.
BR: Lastly — Do you could have any phrases of encouragement for younger riders watching the Tour de France, hoping to hitch the game’s highest ranks?
JH: I believe crucial factor is to take pleasure in your self, consistently experience, and attempt to enhance. You’ll progress if you happen to consistently work just a little bit every day and have enjoyable. You’ll proceed to enhance, and earlier than you already know it, race outcomes, groups, and eventual driving will enhance. Possibly having a contract on this planet tour will come, and if it doesn’t — you’ll no less than have enjoyable alongside the way in which.
We want Jack all one of the best on the upcoming day of the Tour de France. Make sure that to take a look at the stay protection on NBC Sports activities (USA), Eurosport (Europe), FloBikes (USA/CAN), and Tunnel Bear for all of your VPN wants.