Haas on track to fulfill Ardennes adventure

Nathan Haas was not expecting the call up for Garmin-Sharp's Amstel Gold Race squad and it came in the most unexpected manner.

Racing Brabantse Pijl on Wednesday, he made a daring attack off the front with around 65km. Although he admits it wasn't his "smartest move", it was enough to suggest to team boss Jonathan Vaughters that the Australian deserved the open spot for the Amstel Gold Race.

The only problem was, that Vaughters couldn't get through to Haas when he tried to call at the end of the race; the 24-year-old was headed for the airport to fly back his Spanish base in Girona. To stop him getting on the plane, the only solution was twitter.

"I'll try this... If anyone is near @NathanPeterHaas please tell him he just got the last minute call up to do Amstel. And turn on his phone!"

Fortunately Vaughters' Twitter plea worked.

Haas laughed with Cyclingnews when recounting the story in Maastricht's Markt Square before the start of the Amstel Gold Race but there was a very serious side to him being there.

"I've been wanting to do this race my whole life," he admitted. "It's my favourite race in cycling so I'm pretty excited.

"It's just like a big crazy mountain bike race," Haas continued, having formerly excelled in the discipline before switching his focus to the road. "It's always a real rider that wins it so I'm pretty excited to be at the start."

Haas' Ardennes adventure may not end with 75th place at the Amstel Gold Race, 9:12 down on winner Roman Kreuziger.

"I found out I might be doing Fleche now as well and that might string on to Liege now too," he explained.

Fact is, Haas was pleasantly surprised by his form at Brabantse Pijl - "I thought I'd be going shockers," he said.

Haas struggled off the back of the final days of the Tour de Langkawi where he fell ill on the final two stages. Having since raced at Critérium International and Circuit de la Sarthe - Pays de la Loire, it has been a struggle for the Australian.

"It's not the best I've been," he explained. "I'm still coming back from a mystery illness after Langkawi. It kept lingering. I'm on the way back though. I just got really sick on the last two days and I don't know if it lingered or I tried to do too much training through the illness and it put me into a little bit of a hole. I don't know. Hopefully it's all up from here."

If that's the case, Haas is set to make his Grand Tour debut at the Giro d'Italia next month.


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