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Gerolsteiner: only one good finish

"That was a great performance by Heinrich Haussler," said Gerolsteiner directeur sportif Reimund Dietzen. The 22 year-old finished ninth in Thursday's Vuelta stage 12 after spending much of the stage in a breakaway.

"That was really something, what Heinrich showed today. You mustn't forget that he lost two months this season to a viral infection," continued Dietzen. "That just makes his performance today more remarkable." Haussler was victorious in last year's Vuelta in a similar stage.

The German-Australian was the only Gerolsteiner rider who had any luck yesterday. Three of his teammates dropped out of the race during the stage. Young Marcus Fothen "must have spent more of his power at the Tour de France than we thought," said Dietzen. Sven Montgomery and Andrea Moletta left for a totally different reason: "Exactly at the end of the neutral zone, both had defects on their bikes - and everyone else promptly took off. They both tried to catch up, but after 50 km in a fight to catch the fast-flying field, they saw it was uselss."

The team had already lost Marcel Strauss to a stomach bug, so they will be riding the last week of the Vuelta with only five riders.