By Gregor Brown
Heinrich Haussler hopes to put his sprint powers on show in Saturday's Milano-Sanremo. The German Cervélo TestTeam rider has had a breakthrough season with three wins this season, including stage two of Paris-Nice, for the 298-kilometre one-day race.
"I know if my form stays like this I will have a go. I won't hide," Haussler told Cyclingnews. "In Paris-Nice I was not going to my limit because I wanted to make sure I could hold my form through until Paris-Roubaix.
"I got the win on the first day and it took the pressure off and allowed me to spend the rest of the race honing my training for the upcoming races."
While Haussler will have his chance, Cervélo TestTeam will build its team on the experienced legs of Thor Hushovd. The Norwegian, winner of the Omloop Het Nieuwsblad, finished third in 2005 Milano-Sanremo.
"Just because I have had a good start to the season I can't automatically say that I am the team captain. Thor has been up there for years."
Haussler will preview the race's finale with the team on Thursday. Organisers introduced Le Mànie (at 94km to go) last year due to a road closure, but they kept it in for the 100th edition this year. The Cipressa (22.1km) and Poggio (6.2km) are the traditional race ending climbs after I Tre Capi.
"The new climb [Le Mànie] makes things a lot harder. It will split the race into about three or four groups and it will make it a lot harder for the other sprinters to then get over the Cipressa and Poggio. I think this year we will smaller group of 10 or 12 riders."
Haussler started his season in Qatar, where he placed several times in the sprints and finished second overall to Tom Boonen (Quick Step). He went on to win two stages in Portugal's Volta ao Algarve. After the Belgian semi-classic weekend – Omloop Het Nieuwsblad and Kuurne-Brussel-Kuurne – he lined up for Paris-Nice.