René Haselbacher has finally decided to ride with Team Vorarlberg-Corratec for another year, the Austrian Professional Continental team announced on Wednesday .
Haselbacher, 32, admitted that it took him a long time to make up his mind. “For a long time I was not sure what I wanted to do with my life.” He finally decided he wasn't ready to end his career after a frustrating 2009 season plagued by injury and illness.
A crash in the Ronde van Vlaanderen left him with a broken elbow and multiple fractured bones in his face. He struggled the rest of the season before being diagnosed with a severe case of mononucleosis in September.
Haselbacher had another reason for continuing on another year, his 17-month-old son, René junior. ”I absolutely want to present him with a victory. Until then I can't stop riding.”
“Rene is athletically and personally an important part of the team,” said Vorarlberg manager Thomas Kofler. “He brings us 12 years of professional experience, has ridden all the important races from the Tour de France to Liège-Bastogne-Liège, and has made his name in the peloton.”
The Austrian is training at his winter home in South Africa. “The conditions here are perfect and I can gather strength for the coming season in the best of weather,” he said.
Haselbacher's first race is expected to be the Tour de Langkawi in March.
He rode for Team Gerolsteiner from 1999 to 2006, and for Astana from 2007 to 2008, before joining Vorarlberg last season. He was Austrian national road champion in 2002 and won the Rhineland-Pfalz Rundfahrt in 2006.