By Susan Westemeyer in Gerolstein, Germany
German-Australian Heinrich Haussler of Team Gerolsteiner usually spends his off-season in Australia before returning to Europe for the season. But this year the 23 year-old reversed that schedule, spending the fall in Europe and heading off to Australia this week for the Tour Down Under.
He had important things to do in Europe this fall, among them having his physical problems seen too. Back and knee problems made 2007 difficult for him. "I've been doing a lot of physical therapy, three to four times a week," he told Cyclingnews Tuesday at the Gerolsteiner team presentation.
Haussler also had some time for fun and personal matters. "In December I was in St. Moritz for three weeks skiing. Then I moved from Cottbus to Freiburg." He won't be alone in Freiburg, as team-mates Johannes Fröhlinger, Matthias Russ and Fabian Wegmann also live in the area.
He is now preparing to fly to his native land for the Tour Down Under, "although my form is not top at the moment." Then he will finally spend some family-time in Australia. After the race, he will go home. "I'll go back to my Inverell where my parents live, and train there for two and a half weeks."
There is a good reason for the fourth-year pro to stay "down under." After training in Australia, he will hop on a plane to the West Coast of the United States and ride the Tour of California. "I could come back to Europe, but the weather's better [in Australia], then there's the time difference again and the chance of getting sick because it's so cold here. So I'll stay with my parents and train there."
Looking further down the road, Haussler said that his first real season goal is a good performance in the Spring Classics. "That is what I want," with an emphasis on "Milano-Sanremo, Roubaix and Flanders. Then afterwards I'll have a bit of a rest, and then the Tour de France."