Attending the launch of the Tour de France for the first time in his career on Wednesday, Heinrich Haussler was an impressed guest with ASO's show in Paris.
The winner of stage 13 at this year's Tour, Haussler wasn't afraid to admit the occasion motivated him. "When you watch this, you definitely want to come back next year," he said.
At some stage during his flamboyant 2009 season, the Cervélo rider, who finished second in Milan-San Remo and the Tour of Flanders considered skipping the Tour next year - the course of the world championships in Geelong will suit him to perfection and he had it in mind to ride for Australia, the country dear to his heart.
"He's a guy who speaks English with the same sort of accent as I do but I've had no notification of his availability for the Australian team next year," said Neil Stephens, who coordinates the professional road cycling for Australia and therefore directed Cadel Evans to his country's first professional world championship title.
In June and July this year, Haussler firmly said he'd ride for Australia; in recent months that view has softened. "It's something I haven't decided 100 percent yet," he acknowledged in Paris. "The UCI has its rules and I have to give back my German citizenship.
"Once I give it up, I can't get it back. I have to sit down with my family. We'll decide towards the end of the year," he explained.
The son of a German father and an Australian mother, Haussler chose a German licence to build up his cycling career with Gerolsteiner. There's pressure from the German cycling federation for him to remain a German while Australia isn't trying to lure him over, although he'd virtually be the Australia-born cyclist the most likely to succeed Evans in Victoria.
Haussler will return to Inverell, New South Wales, where he grew up, for two weeks in early November. He plans to repeat the preparation of the 2009 season that radically changed his cycling profile this year.
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