By Jean-François Quénet in Roanne
German Heinrich Haussler will go all out at this year's Tour de France, the Team Gerolsteiner rider declared after taking victory on the Critérium du Dauphiné Libéré's first stage. Haussler out sprinted some of the ProTour's biggest names, including Tom Boonen (Quickstep-Innergetic) and Graeme Brown (Rabobank) to take one of his biggest victories to date.
"I'll go 100 percent for the Tour," he said. "It's really hard to expect anything. It's new to me. I've never ridden the Tour before. I guess it's very different from the Vuelta."
His sprint victory in Roanne, at the end of a 219 kilometre stage, has given the youngster some ideas about focusing on sprinting at this year's Tour. "I didn't see myself as a big sprinter," he said. "I don't do specific sprint training. But even at the Tour de France this year I might go in that direction. I think Petacchi is gonna be the man for the bunch sprints this year."
But the youngster warned against expecting to much from him in what will be his Tour de France debut. "I can't compete with these guys already," he confessed. "I'm only 23 years old. I'm sticking my nose in and getting a bit of a sniff of what it is like."