Haussler gunning for Classic success, still pondering nationality change
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Thursday, January 21, 2010

Haussler gunning for Classic success, still pondering nationality change

by Conal Andrews at 7:36 AM EST   comments
Categories: Vuelta a España
 

Motivated by his near-miss in the 2009 Milan San Remo and his runner-up slot in the Tour of Flanders, German rider Heinrich Haussler is fully motivated heading into the 2010 season. He is currently training with the rest of the Cervélo Test Team at their camp in Portugal, and is logging the kilometres with the thoughts of winning one of the sports Monuments.

“I want to concentrate 100% on the Classics,” he told the German news agency SID. “Victory in the Ronde van Vlaanderen is the dream I want to make reality in the next two to three years. Additionally, I have also something to settle in Milan-San Remo.”

Haussler looked like an almost certain victor in the latter race, jumping clear inside the final 500 metres of last year’s edition and opening a large gap on the bunch behind. However Mark Cavendish (HTC Columbia) unleashed a stunning gallop to overhaul him just before the line, consigning the Cervélo Test Team rider to a very disappointed second pace.

The gap between the two was tiny, but the regrets were huge. “In the days after the race I lay in bed and thought of these millimetres,” Haussler admits. “But in hindsight it was probably what kicked the whole season off.

“I will simply plan things more smartly this year and do things so well that I get the first big victory,” he said, referring to Classic success.

He got recompense of a sort last July when he soloed to an excellent win on stage 13 of the Tour de France. Other results included two stages wins in the Volta ao Algarve plus one in Paris-Nice.

A strong sprinter who is also good on tougher terrain, Haussler has marked himself out as one to watch. He is still just 25 years of age and so it is reasonable to assume that he will continue to improve for the next four to five years, thus making him a candidate for major one-day success.

The world championships is another goal, of course, and Haussler – who has an Australian mother and grew up in the country – is considering changing his nationality in order to be able to race for the home team when the worlds is held in Australia later this year.

It’s something he has talked about for quite some time, and he confesses that he still has not decided what he is going to do. “Right now everything is open. First I will concentrate on the Classics. The problem is that I would have to give up my German citizenship and such a decision is not one to take lightly. It must be carefully considered. Actually, I would like to continue to live in Germany, I like the country and I also see my future here.”

However the fact remains that he feels he should have a better chance of success if he moves. “In the world’s, Milram and Columbia are really the sporting management of the German team. It will be said that I can only be rider number three. In my opinion, it will be difficult for Andre Greipel to win, and Gerald Ciolek must first prove that he can win such a race.

“I have no problem in riding for Greipel. But when I race, I want to also have the chance to win. And it has been difficult on the German team in recent years. As I saw it, there was no captain.”

Haussler wants to wait to make that decision, and should have a better picture of his chances after the Classics. If he takes a major win, it would show that he deserves to be one of the designated leaders of the squad.

What’s certain is that he feels content with his professional team, and he has no intention of moving.

“It probably sounds like a cliché, but I simply feel at home with Cervélo,” he said. “I have a contract until 2012 and it satisfies me. I would not race somewhere else for all the money in the world.”

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