Milan San Remo: Hushovd to lead Cervélo, Haussler out
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Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Milan San Remo: Hushovd to lead Cervélo, Haussler out

by Conal Andrews at 7:50 AM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Milan-Sanremo
 

The Cervélo Test Team will give full backing to Thor Hushovd in this weekend’s Milan San Remo, with last year’s runner-up Heinrich Haussler being confirmed today as a non-starter.

Haussler has been battling a knee problem which arose from a crash in last month’s Volta ao Algarve. He pulled out of Paris-Nice last week, and expressed doubt if he would be recovered in time for the Italian Classic.

That doubt has turned into reality, with Cervélo directeur sportif Jean Paul van Poppel admitting today that he has been sidelined.

"Heinrich is currently receiving intensive medical treatment from our medical team so he will recover as soon as possible to be ready for the upcoming Belgian classics," he stated. "Thor, who proved at Tirreno-Adriatico that he is in good form now after a difficult season start, will be our team leader in Milan-San Remo."

Haussler had said prior to the Omloop Het Nieuwsblad that he wouldn’t be in a position to chase a big result due to a sore knee, yet finished as runner-up to Juan Antonio Flecha (Team Sky). That increased optimism that he would be able to aim for top slot at Milan San Remo, but a crash on stage one of Paris-Nice caused the injury to flare up again. The focus now is on helping him to recover for later events.

Hushovd has been honing his form in Tirreno-Adriatico and while his best season placing to date is sixth in Kuurne-Brussel-Kuurne, the team will aim to help him to his first season win today.

“Tirreno-Adriatico always finishes in San Benedetto del Tronto and the end of stage 7 will be a sprinter's battle,” said Van Poppel yesterday. “We will try to bring Thor into the best position possible for the final.”

Last year’s winner Mark Cavendish (HTC Columbia) has had a poor start to the season due to dental problems and appears very unlikely to repeat his Milan-San Remo success. Hushovd was third last year and will therefore start as the highest-ranked rider from 2009, but other sprinters such as Tom Boonen (Quick Step) and Alessandro Petacchi (Lampre - Farnese Vini) have already taken several wins this season.

Hushovd will be backed by Xavier Florencio, Roger Hammond, Jeremy Hunt, Andreas Klier, Brett Lancaster, Gabriel Rasch and Dominique Rollin.

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