By Bjorn Haake in Kuurne
The Cervélo TestTeam is in its first year, but already doing extremely well. They placed four riders in the top five at the Tour of Qatar in January. The team members said that it all boiled down to team work.
Heinrich Haussler, who came close to tasting victory in the Omloop Het Nieuwsblad, agreed. "We ride as a team," he said. Comparing it to his former Gerolsteiner team, he said that "Everything is more organised." But the real difference were the teammates. " Having Andreas [Klier] in the team is good – he tells us exactly where we have to be at the front."
Haussler added that the way the team was clicking made things much easier. "It is all for all here. We have a clear plan and then we do it."
Haussler admitted that the way the team races the race radio is extremely important. "Without it things would be much more difficult. But at least now I know the races very well, which is important. I do want to do well in Flanders and the other Belgian races."
Haussler added that Roger Hammond knew the roads well, and the Briton also enjoyed the camaraderie. "We had a good start to the year. You have one or two good rides and then the snowball starts."
Hammond added that especially with a new team it was important to get a good result early on. "The team was so strong in Qatar, then the guys in California said 'Ah, we have to go at least as well as the guys in Qatar.' Then the guys in Algarve said 'Oh, we have to go at least as good as the guys in California...' Then the two [factions] came together and now everyone is in good form.
"We rode as one group rather than splitting into the six or seven groups you usually have. That was very good for the team atmosphere."
He didn't think there was necessarily a right and wrong way to handle a team. "With Highroad we did what was important for that team; here we do what is important for us and for us it was important to build the team, because everything is so new. Then everybody fed off each other."
Hammond also said that the one-group training ride was helped by the location choice of the camp. "We were lucky where we trained, too [Portugal -ed.]. It lent itself to riding in a big group. In California it was better to train with six or seven groups, as it was so flat."