Haussler remains upbeat

Heinrich Haussler was surprised how large the team's presentation was, being in the defending champion's team.

Heinrich Haussler was surprised how large the team's presentation was, being in the defending champion's team. (Image credit: Sirotti)

Stage 5 was pure stress from start to finish. No one really knew how strong the wind was going to be or what direction it was going to come from and it caused havoc in the bunch. As a team we’re not in a position to just roll with it and take our chances, we’ve got Thor Hushovd and Carlos Sastre, and that means we have to work for them and stay alert throughout the race.

In general both guys are pretty easy to work for. Thor is a big, strong Classics rider and with his sprinting experience he knows exactly how to handle himself in the field when the wind becomes a factor. Carlos, while he has years of experience, sometimes struggles to stay out of the wind and needs a bit more help from his domestiques to keep out of trouble.

When the race did split Hayden, Brett and I made sure that Thor was in the right position. Andreas Klier was looking after Carlos and he brought him to the front, which was impressive to do all by himself.

In the last two kilometres Thor and I lost each other in the bunch. We had strong headwind and we didn’t want to hit the front too early and end up blowing before the final kilometre. I was passing Columbia’s train but with the wind and a downhill dash to the line riders from Garmin and other teams started coming over the top of us and Thor and I ended up getting boxed in. It was a big disappointment and the total opposite of what we were trying to achieve, but that’s bike racing and the good thing is we can start to put things right on the next stage or the stage after that. I’m confident that we can turn things around in the sprints. Each night we watch the video of the last five kilometres, analyse our performance and learn from it.

I couldn’t go without mentioning the team time trial that took place on Tuesday. Looking back, perhaps we could have taken a few more risks in the opening few kilometres but when we were warming up our sportifs came and told us that there had been five crashes in the opening sections of the course and they didn’t want the same to happen to us. I thought we had a good ride. We were smooth and no was jumping or pulling like crazy so we were all able to hit the front at full gas.

Carlos did lose some time but he seems happy and calm and he’s always so laid back. He’s always telling us to take it easy and that there are three weeks of racing and that anything can happen during such a long race. He has so much experience and he knows what stages he can take time from his rivals. His attitude is great for the rest of the guys like me. You look at him, how he conducts himself and you can’t help but put in 100 percent and remain motivated.

Catch you later,


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Heinrich Haussler, now registered as an Australian, is back to take on the spring Classics with IAM Cycling.