No birthday win for Australian, but form is coming
There was to be no birthday win for Heinrich Haussler in Omloop Het Nieuwsblad on Saturday but the 28-year-old still put in a rousing performance to take fourth place in the bunch sprint.
Earlier, teammate Sep Vanmarcke had won the semi-classic with a powerful sprint ahead of Tom Boonen (Omega-Pharma QuickStep) and Juan Antonio Flecha (Team Sky).
Haussler came into the race targeting the win despite a less than ideal perpetration, having been hit by two bouts of illness.
But with Garmin-Barracuda enjoying their best one-day result since last year's Paris-Roubaix, the Australian had little complain about.
"That was the perfect way for us to start off the Classics, just like we did back in 2009 with Cervelo," he told Cyclingnews.
Heading towards the Taaienberg with 59km left to race, Garmin began a surge to the front with Haussler, Vanmarcke and Andreas Klier leading the charge. Haussler lost his position due to a crash but praised Vanmarcke for both his tactical awareness and form.
"I was pissed and I'm not going to mention any names, but so many people crashed right in front of us and then it was over by the time we got to the top. Then we spoke with Andreas and thank God, Sep was strong enough to make it into the front group. He's done an unbelievable job and it meant that we could just sit back and do nothing."
"Sep felt confident and put his hand up in the meeting last night, so he was a protected ride from the start and that's why we rode into the Taaienberg on the front with him me and Andreas. I said to him a couple of hundred meters before that if Boonen goes he needs to be on his wheel and to go with him."
Haussler is yet to rediscover the form he displayed in the 2009 season. In his first year at Cervelo he finished second in both Milan-San Remo and the Tour of Flanders and seventh in Paris-Roubaix. However, his sprint in Ghent today shows that he could be returning to those levels again.
"I'm happy. Things aren't where they were before so there's still a long way to go."
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