By Susan Westemeyer
René Haselbacher had hoped to make the breakthrough this year, and finally replace his reputation of a crash pilot with that of a winner. He thought he was on the right path, winning the Rheinland-Pfalz Rundfahrt, and assuming that would be his ticket to the Tour de France. But the team management decided to go with climbers instead of sprinters, and he was left off the Tour team for the second year in a row.
He probably figured that winning the Austrian road championship would be a good way to soothe his pride and show the team what he was capable of. Right? Well, things just don't work out that way for "Hasi".
On Saturday, he was out training and reported later on his personal website, "Something flew into my mouth. I didn't think anything of it, but shortly thereafter my throat started to swell up." A trip to the emergency room ensued. "It was unbelievable. The doctor pulled a stinger out of my throat. Luckily I'm not allergic, but my whole neck is all swollen."
Haselbacher was better on Sunday morning to ride, but not good enough for the competition. He started, but didn't finish the race.