Heinrich Haussler is going into the 2011 season with fresh hopes for success with his new team Garmin-Cervelo. Having recovered from the knee problems which put an end to his Spring Classic hopes last year, he will once again look to do well in those races, although he will face strong competition from within his own team.
The Australian will once again open with the Tour of Qatar, where he finished ninth overall last year, and stay in the Middle East for the Tour of Oman.
Haussler will skip the early Belgian races this year, including the Omloop Het Nieuwsblad, where he finished second in 2010. His first European race will be Paris-Nice. From there he will go to Milan-San Remo and hope to better his second place finish from 2009.
He will then head to Belgium for Dwars Door Vlaanderen, the E3 Prijs Vlanderen, and the Tour of Flanders, topping off his spring with Paris-Roubaix.
Inter-team rivalry and knee problems
The 25-year-old hopes to have put last year's knee problems behind and will vie for leadership with Thor Hushovd and Tyler Farrar, who both have their eyes on the top races.
Hushovd finished third in Paris-Roubaix in 2009 and second last year. Farrar has proven himself in difficult one-day races by winning the Vattenfall Cyclassic for the last two years, and last year made an impression in the spring races, winning the Grote Scheldeprijs and a stage at the Three Days of De Panne.
Haussler underwent knee surgery last July, after suffering most of the early season. A crash in Paris-Nice last year aggravated knee problems which had first popped up in the Volta ao Algarve, and subsequently held him out of racing for two months.
Upon his return, he promptly crashed twice in the Tour of California injuring his knee again. Another racing pause saw him come back with a strong third place in the GP Gippingen, and sprinting to a win in the second stage of the Tour de Suisse. Only two days later a nasty crash in the sprint finale, and the resulting knee surgery, took him out of action until mid-September.