By Gregor Brown in Meerbeke
Heinrich Haussler acknowledged that Quick Step had the strongest team Sunday in Belgium's Ronde van Vlaanderen. The Cervélo TestTeam rider led home the bunch sprint for second behind Quick Step's Stijn Devolder.
"They were really strong and deserved to win," Haussler said to Cyclingnews. "The strongest guy always wins here, because this race is that hard."
Quick Step entered into action around kilometre 187. The team had Frenchman Sylvain Chavanel in a six-man move, which later allowed for a counter-move by Belgian Devolder.
Cervélo rode on the front through the race's key sections. It placed Thor Hushovd in the move with Quick Step's Tom Boonen on the Taaienberg; however, tactics nullified many of the counter-moves until Devolder bridged to teammate Chavanel prior to the penultimate Kapelmuur climb.
"I felt okay, but I did not have what I had before: that sixth gear, where I could just put it into the big ring, stand up and sprint. But I don't care anymore."
Haussler is proud of his two second places in the first two of cycling's five Monuments. He nearly won Milano-Sanremo two weeks ago with a surge 350 metres from the line. Cavendish reeled in the 25-year-old and won by 11 centimetres.
Haussler will have the doctor check out his knee (he crashed on the Kerkgate at kilometre 135) and prepare for the last two races of his spring season. He will be one of the favourites in Wednesday's Gent-Wevelgem and play a support role to Hushovd and Roger Hammond in Sunday's Paris-Roubaix.
Haussler has done great in the classics, now people in our forums are already wondering if he can win a Grand Tour. Chime in.