Heinrich Haussler (Australia) will ride this year’s elite men's world championship road race in support of teammate and leader Simon Gerrans. Haussler, who confirmed that this will be his last season at Garmin-Sharp, arrived in Valkenburg late Wednesday night, and after a light training session on the race course spoke to Cyclingnews.
“It’ll be interesting to see what happens at the weekend because a lot will depend on the weather. You’re not going to have a 30-man bunch sprint but if the wind picks up then the race could change,” he predicted to Cyclingnews.
Australia comes into the Worlds with a depleted squad in terms of experience and Gerrans appears to be the team’s best chance of success. Cadel Evans, Michael Rogers, Matthew Goss and Stuart O’Grady are all missing through injury, illness and non selection. It means Haussler, who led out Goss last year in the chaotic sprint in Copenhagen, will have a key role to play over the 267km course.
Despite not picking up a win in 2012 – he has recorded five second places – Haussler’s form has improved in the second half of the season. The 28-year-old was seventh in the Cyclassics Hamburg and third in the GP Plouay-Ouest France, results which improved his ranking in the UCI WorldTour significantly.
“My form is getting better and better, and every week since Hamburg I’ve been improving and feeling stronger,” he told Cyclingnews.
With Gerrans in high form, and racing a circuit that suits his punchy characteristics, Haussler is adamant that Australia’s best chances for a medal rest on the shoulders of this year’s Milan-San Remo winner. Australia has form in recent worlds too. Cadel Evans won the title in 2009; Allan Davis made the podium in 2010, while Goss was third last year in Copenhagen.
“We’ve not talked about team tactics but it’s not a secret that Gerrans is absolutely, flying at the moment and the way he’s riding is unbelievable. He’s the main guy. We’re pretty much all here for one person and that’s how we have to ride.”
Haussler would not be drawn on his future after Garmin-Sharp, only revealing that he is set to announce his team for 2013 in the coming days.
Australian road Worlds team: Simon Clarke, Allan Davis, Simon Gerrans and Wesley Sulzberger (Orica-GreenEdge), Adam Hansen (Lotto-Belisol), Heinrich Haussler (Garmin-Sharp), Michael Matthews (Rabobank), Richie Porte (Team Sky) and David Tanner (Saxo Bank-Tinkoff).
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