Tour of Beijing: Haussler speaks about his long road back to the top
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Thursday, October 6, 2011

Tour of Beijing: Haussler speaks about his long road back to the top

by Shane Stokes at 9:24 AM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling
Australian Garmin-Cervélo rider has had a frustrating year and a half

Heinrich HausslerHeinrich Haussler has spoken about the importance of today’s stage victory in the Tour of Beijing, with the triumph marking his first WorldTour win since stage two of last year’s Tour de Suisse. It’s been a long, long wait for the 27 year old rider, who had a standout season in 2009 but who lost much of 2010 and 2011 due to injury.

Haussler galloped into Men Tou Gou ahead of Denis Galimzyanov (Katusha) and Theo Bos (Rabobank) today, edging the victory by a couple of centimetres. His lunge at the line made all the difference, and turned things around after a very frustrating time.

“It was basically flat today but it was ridden at a fast speed and was really hectic at the finish,” he explained afterwards, talking about how things played out and what he and Garmin-Cervélo did to take the win. “The end was so stressful. There were lots of teams trying to get their sprinters there but fortunately for me, we had Cam (Meyer) and Jack (Bobridge) up the front today to bring us up. Then I managed to time it perfectly.”

Haussler’s dry periods in the last two seasons date back to the spring and early summer of 2010, when he had a smattering of crashes. He fell in both the Volta ao Algarve and Paris-Nice, picked up some decent results, then fell again twice in the Tour of California.

He set about rebuilding from that and showed he was on track for a strong Tour when he won stage two of the Tour de Suisse. However his luck was still not with him, and he tangled with Mark Cavendish four days later. The impact caused a knee injury which forced him to undergo surgery, sit out the Tour, and also led him to miss the Vuelta. Although he did some racing in the Autumn, he was passed over for the world road race championships in Australia, another blow.

Moving to Garmin-Cervélo would, he hoped, be a fresh start. Things started well with a number of good performances including two stage wins in the Tour of Qatar plus second overall, as well as four top five placings and the points classification in Paris-Nice.

However his good form dipped and the day after a tough Paris-Roubaix, he and his team reached a difficult decision. “We have decided that I am not going to start the Tour this summer,” he told Het Nieuwsblad. “I will spend the time to come back and regain my former strength.”

It was determined that the problem was his lack of a proper base. Essentially, missing all three Grand Tours in 2010 meant that he didn’t have the endurance needed to tackle blocks of hard racing. So, instead of competing in the sport’s top event, he spent time building his condition.

Second, third and fourth on stages of the Tour of Poland showed that things were heading in the right direction. And while the Vuelta a España was much tougher than he expected, it gave him what he needed to return to winning ways.

“This season has been pretty much up and down. It started okay when I won a couple of stages in the Tour of Qatar but since then just a few podium places. Nothing special until today,” he said after his Beijing stage victory.

“The Vuelta didn’t go so well for me but I got through it and then the worlds, which has put a bit of racing into me. There are lots of good sprinters here so it’s important and means a lot to win today.”

There aren’t many racing days left in 2011 but Haussler has the chance to clock up more success before taking his winter break. He’s got three more stages in the Chinese race, and will aim to both grab another stage victory and also to defend his lead in the points classification.

After that, he will head to the Jayco Herald Sun Tour, where he and several other Australian Garmin-Cervélo riders will have a chance to chase success on home soil. The best thing though is that with some good racing now under his belt, he can head towards 2012 expecting a season like his 2009 breakthrough year.


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