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Heinrich Haussler's sciatica withdrawal weighs on team at Tour de Pologne

PRZEMYSL POLAND AUGUST 10 LR Matej Mohoric of Slovenia Phil Bauhaus of Germany Yellow Leader Jersey Heinrich Haussler of Australia and Team Bahrain Victorious during the 78th Tour de Pologne 2021 Stage 2 a 201km stage from Zamo to Przemyl 341m TourdePologne TDP2021 UCIWT on August 10 2021 in Przemysl Poland Photo by Bas CzerwinskiGetty Images
Heinrich Haussler (Bahrain Victorious) leads teammate Phil Bauhaus, who was the first race leader at the Tour de Pologne, during stage 2 (Image credit: Getty Images Sport)

Heinrich Haussler (Bahrain Victorious) has pulled out of the Tour de Pologne, not starting stage 3 after suffering through the pain of sciatica for over a week. 

Bahrain Victorious said they felt the impact of Haussler’s absence when it came down to the sprint in Rzeszów, with Phil Bauhaus beaten by Fernando Gaviria (UAE Team Emirates) and Olav Kooij (Jumbo-Visma).

“Phil did a fantastic job getting 3rd, but we missed that final lead out from Haussler,” said lead sports director Tim Harris. “I think Phil would probably have won today. We are disappointed that we lost Haussler today, but otherwise excellent ride from the team. Upwards and onwards for tomorrow.“

Of the four remaining stages in the Tour de Pologne the next two are hilly, then there is a time trial before the final stage into Kraków, which is expected to be one for the sprinters. Bahrain Victorious has stepped onto the podium in every one of the first three stages. 

Bauhaus sprinted to victory on stage 1, while in stage 2 Matej Mohorič (Bahrain Victorious) came third behind current race leader João Almeida (Deceuninck-QuickStep) and Diego Ulissi (UAE Team Emirates). Then in the 226 kilometre stage 3 to Rzeszów the team put in a considerable amount of work to keep the break under control and then help reel it back in but Bauhaus couldn’t quite hold off the closing Gaviria and Kooij.

“Have to say I’m quite disappointed as I wanted to win again for the team, they did a good job,” said the third-placed Bauhaus. ”Matej did super good lead out, but I still felt it was a bit long, so the other sprinters came from behind. I did accelerate to the same speed, but unfortunately I couldn’t hold it that long.”

The missing link in the lead-out of Haussler, who his team said now requires further diagnosis and treatment, had returned to racing in the first two stages of the Tour de Pologne after a break of two months since his last race, the Tour of Slovenia, where he took third on the final stage. 

The Australian rider, with German heritage, started this year first with cyclo-cross before rolling into the road season in good form even after he hard to cut his season short in 2020 after contracting COVID-19. The 37 year-old clearly expressed his disappointment at having to face an interruption again this year after withdrawing before stage 3. 

“Absolutely gutted to leave the team like this but I’ve been suffering from sciatica pain for over a week now and just can’t handle the pain anymore,” said Haussler in a post on Instagram. “Good luck to the boys and hope to be back ASAP.”