By Susan Westemeyer
Astana's René Haselbacher avoided a crash five kilometres before the finish of the final stage of the Volta ao Algarve and was able to preserve his second-place in the overall classification. "I am overjoyed to finish so well in this race and to play a leading role in the team," he said. "It's a great feeling when stars like Andreas Klöden ride one hundred percent for you.
And finishing second behind Alessandro Petacchi, one of the top sprinters in the scene, is nothing to be ashamed of. I can live with that!", he added.
The Austrian finished the final stage as 12th, saying he didn't want to take any risks. "Five kilometres before the finish I thought, that's it. There was a mass crash right in front of me, which I was barely able to avoid. Then it was very dangerous in the last kilometres with traffic islands and roundabouts. 500 meters before the finish was the biggest surprise: The route book showed a light left-right-left curve. Instead, we went around a 90-degree corner. Bernhard Eisel was riding next to me and we both had to fully brake. I didn't participate in the final sprint because I just wanted to come safely over the finish line."
Haselbacher will train this coming week from his home in Vienna, and is looking at an adjusted schedule. "I will leave out planned starts at Het Volk and Kuurne-Brussel-Kuurne. I want to concentrate on my preparations for Tirreno-Adriatico and Milan-Sanremo."