21-year-old Australian Jack Haig joins WorldTour outfit Orica-GreenEdge to develop into a stage race contender

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Australian WorldTour team Orica-GreenEdge has signed local general classification hopeful Jack Haig on a two-year deal, through the 2017 season, that will have him debut in the pro ranks in August 2015.

“Jack is a very obvious talent and a rider that we have been following for quite a while,” the team’s general manager Shayne Bannan said.

“He has a lot of potential and is a very versatile rider for his age already. I think we could see him up there in the stage races in the future. He’ll make the transition to the pro ranks in good environment where we can help him develop his talent in the best possible way.”

Haig will add to Orica’s new general classification crop that includes 22-year-old British riders Adam and Simon Yates, and Esteban Chaves.

The 21-year-old team Avanti rider won the youth classification at the Tour Down Under in January when Orica’s star, Simon Gerrans won the overall. He continued his 2014 season with third overall in Australia’s Herald Sun Tour, third in the Tour of Korea and second in France’s Tour Alsace.

At the Tour de l’Avenir, one of the top amateur stage races, he placed 12th overall while helping Aussie team-mate Robert Power to second. In the Under 23 World Championships in Ponferrada, Spain, he took Orica rider Caleb Ewan to a silver medal.

Like Ewan in 2014, Orica will transition Haig into its team as a stagiaire in August after he races in the Under 23 Australian Academy. Haig will become a full-time professional in Orica’s blue, green and yellow colours starting in 2016. Orica did not announce the length of his contract, but it reportedly runs through 2017.

“My transitioning to Orica-GreenEdge will work really nicely with the WorldTour Academy, making it easy to get involved in things like the camp ahead of 2016,” Haig said.

“I really want to enjoy my career, a lot of it is about having fun and having fun with it often comes with doing well. Ultimately, I want to try and get a couple of wins at pro level and I’d like to see myself as being a general classification contender in a stage race. That’s my biggest goal.”