A new team, a new jersey but for Heinrich Haussler the focus remains on the Spring Cassics as he uses the Tour of Qatar to build his form. The 28-year-old switched from Garmin-Sharp to the Swiss IAM Cycling team in the off season and arrived in Qatar with what he believes is the best off-season training he’s had in several years.
“This year I’ve done what I’ve wanted to do and I can use these early season races to find my form. That’s what’s going to make the difference in the longer races,” he told Cyclingnews.
“With Garmin we had training camps and meetings in America, then last year I did the Tour Down Under, and I never had a proper base where I could fall back on. You’d do the training camp and everyone would just go crazy because it’s warm they’d want to go crazy and show how strong they were and it’s not proper training.”
Haussler spent two years at Garmin but failed to settle, a number of niggling injuries and a lack of form contributing to two frustrating seasons. But in truth Haussler has struggled ever since a purple patch of form in 2009 that saw him podium at Milan San Remo and the Tour of Flanders.
“The new team is really good. It’s really well organised, even for a first year squad. They’re a lot better organised than a lot of the WorldTour teams that have been around for years,” he said.
Haussler has had success in Qatar before though, picking up two stage wins and second overall in 2011 and while he admits he’s not in top form yet, he’s and his team are hoping for a positive start to the year.
“It’s a new team and we’ve motivated like crazy. We’ve been mixing well and training hard but we’ll have to see how it goes in Qatar. I’ve looked at the wind predictions and it only really looks to be high on the first stage, and after that it’s pretty mild so there should be lots of sprints. Our performances really will depend on how well gel as a team and on the first day we’ll need a bit of luck to make that first group if it does split.”
“It’s very similar to Cervelo in a sense. The big difference is that now the riders are all there for me and I’m the main leader with the guys to work for me. That gives me a lot more motivation. I’ve been going back to my old school training and I spent five weeks doing cross country skiing and that’s been my base. I feel better and stronger.”