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Heinrich Haussler (Garmin-Barracuda) leads Jens Keukeleire (GreenEdge) over the cobbles
Garmin-Barracuda rider's Olympic qualification hanging in the balance
Garmin-Barracuda's Heinrich Haussler is running out of time to prove himself to his national selectors, and needs results at the Amgen Tour of California to have a chance at being named to Australia's team for the Olympic Games in London.
Although he's taken a fourth place this year in Omloop Het Nieuwsblad, and had a couple high finishes in the Volta ao Algarve and Paris-Nice, his results have not matched those of previous seasons which included a Paris-Nice stage win and a second in Milan-San Remo (2009), a Tour de Suisse stage win in 2010 and two stages in Tour of Qatar and the Paris-Nice points jersey in 2011. On the opening stage of the Tour of California, Haussler was second behind Liquigas-Cannondale's Peter Sagan.
There's intense competition for the Olympic squad, and Haussler is under pressure to show he's worthy of the team in California, but any results will have to be achieved on his own. Cycling Australia's selection panel will take into account results up until June 17.
"The team is here for the general classifcation, so I will have to do my own thing in the sprints, but if you look at my past results I've shown that I can find my own way," he told Cyclingnews at the start in Santa Rosa.
Haussler tried to avoid using a curse word to describe the start of his season, but noted his disappointment in his Classics campaign. "I'm not happy with the way the season's been going. But I've gone back to basics to get back on track: I've been at altitude training, and now I'll race here, go back to altitude, then do Tour de Suisse and then do more training. I've got to get some massive results to qualify for the Olympics.
"If I don't make the team, I hope to be chosen for the Tour de France, but even that is going to be difficult on this team."