By Gregor Brown in Madinat Al Shamal, Qatar
Heinrich Haussler of Cervélo TestTeam nearly pulled off a win in stage four of the Tour of Qatar Wednesday. The German, up against multiple Tour de France stage winners, finished second behind Mark Cavendish.
"It is very dangerous here with the head- and crosswinds. Columbia trying to pull for Cavendish, Tom Boonen [yelling]... it was just really hectic," said Haussler to Cyclingnews.
Cervélo worked perfectly for Haussler as it has done for him and other teammates in every stage of the Tour of Qatar so far. His team fought in the crosswinds, but a flat tyre meant he had to ride behind Cavendish's Team Columbia to re-join his six teammates in the front.
Teammate Dan Lloyd helped Haussler position himself for the sprint. He placed himself behind Boonen's wheel for the final push along the Gulf of Bahrain waterfront.
"I am not a super-sprinter like the others, but I would like to win a stage in a sprint."
Haussler has had a consistent Tour of Qatar thus far. The team finished seventh on the first time trial stage, he was third in stage one when his teammate Roger Hammond took the win and overall lead, fourth on stage two and second in the latest stage.
He is the leader of the young riders' competition by 2:09 over Cavendish. He is also only 12 seconds off the overall lead of Boonen.
"I will try to hold on to it," Haussler said of the blue young rider's jersey. "It is nice, but I would rather have the gold jersey or a stage win."
Officials award a 10-second bonus in the overall classification for a stage win – six and four for second and third, respectively. If Haussler wins in one of the race's final two stages he would also have a chance for the final overall classification victory.