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Haussler out kicks Ewan for Australian national title

Heinrich Haussler (IAM Cycling) won a thrilling Australian national road championships as he out sprinted Caleb Ewan (Orica-GreenEdge) to claim victory after 183km of racing around Bunninyong in a time of 4:47:24. Haussler lost contact on the final climb up Mt Buninyong with the seven-man break that had formed on lap four of 18, and had been whittled down as the pace lifted in the second half of the race, but regained contact in the final kilometres of the race and despite having "lactic acid coming out of his ears" held off Ewan for his first national title. 

Neil van der Ploeg (Avanti) won the sprint for third place with neo-pro Campbell Flakemore (BMC), Sam Spokes (Drapac), Jack Bobridge (BudgetForklifts) and Angus Morton (Jelly Belly) following him home.

"It's definitely up there with the [Tour de France] stage win to Colmar, everything was in slow motion," Haussler said.

The IAM Cycling rider raced under a German licence until 2010, told reporters after the win. "In the last 100 meters I was sprinting and looking down and across to Caleb and just getting everything out of me to get across the line in first. When I got there I had to scream. There was just so much in me that I had to get out."

"I came here with good form and obviously it's very hard with just me and Dave [Tanner] in the race. It's a bit of poker but everything worked out perfectly. Like I said before, it's probably the best day of my life."

The anticipated tete-a-tete between Cadel Evans and Richie Porte came too late in the day with both heavily marked by the peloton as the seven-man breakaway started the final lap with a lead of a minute-and-a- half. While the fireworks starting going  in the peloton up the climb, Haussler and the break were riding away to victory and it would be sweet redemption after years of hard luck and injury.

"Once you've had the taste of winning in you, that sensation of emotion, that’s what it's all worth it for," Haussler said of what keeps him racing. "The hard work of going out on the bike every day and sacrificing everything basically, your relationship, relationships with friends, your whole lifestyle ...  but it is worth it. I'd do it all over and over again. That's the way cycling is, you have injuries you crash but you come back and that’s what makes you a rider. You fall down but you have to come back up and you come back even stronger."

"It means everything to me," Haussler added. "Even when they were playing the national anthem I had to hold back otherwise the tears were coming to come down, there have been a lot of bad years where you go to races and get dropped and guys go up the road and attack and in the sprint you just can’t follow and you think ‘what’s the matter?’ I knew it would come back eventually but you have to put in the hard work."

An attack by Adam Hansen (Lotto-Soudal) on the back-half of the course came too late to bridge across the break with eighth place, 48 seconds later, placing him as the best of the chasers. Steele von Hoff won the bunch sprint for ninth place at 52 seconds in a group that contained Evans (11th), Porte (22nd) and Simon Clarke (10th).

How it unfolded

The men's road race started under overcast skies but there was no sign of the predicted inclement weather at the 10:50am roll out. Once the gun the fired, the peloton turned the pedals over to start the first of 18 laps and headed up the hill to Mt Buninyong. Sam Spokes (Drapac) and Rhys Gillett (Pro Team Down Under) where the first riders to get away and held a ten second advantage over the peloton when it crossed the line to start lap two.

With the duo reeled in on the lower slopes of the midland highway climb, local lad Pat Shaw (Avanti) attacked off the front and was joined by Cam Peterson (Drapac). The duo built a small advantage over the chasers to hold a 30 second advantage at the start of lap three.

A large group of 15 riders formed on the fourth lap as it caught and subsumed the breakaway. BudgetForklifts were one of three teams with multiple representations with Josh Berry, Brendan Canty and Jack Bobridge, while Orica-GreenEdge had Damien Howson and Luke Durbridge, Drapac had the quartet of Bernie Sulzberger, Will Clarke, Lachie Norris and Cam Peterson. The solo riders were Nathan Earle (Team Sky), Heinrich Haussler (IAM Cycling), Campbell Flakemore (BMC), Paul van der Ploeg (CharterMason Giant), along with Gillett and Shaw.

The leaders built an advantage of 53 seconds on the start of lap six and with Porte and Evans having teammates in the break, were happy to leave the pace setting to the likes of Orica-GreenEdge and BudgetForklifts who had amassed at the front of the bunch.

After seven laps and 70km of racing, the breaks advantage broke the minute barrier as Durbridge put in an effort to force a gap. More attacks saw riders drop off from the break, which reached a maximum advantage of two minutes, with Clarke the sole survivor by lap 14. The breakaway specialist would be joined by Pat Lane (African Wildlife Safaris) on the next lap who then motored on to be the leader on the road.

With 29km to go, Lane was caught close to the feed zone on the midland highway climb, by a 17 rider group that had managed to go off the front of the peloton. In that group was Robbie Hucker, Sam Spokes, Darren Lapthorne, (Drapac) Cameron Wurf, Ewan, Haussler, Michael Hepburn (Orica-GreenEdge), Angus Morton, Peter Milostic, Flakemore, Ollie Kent-Spark (search2retain /, Mitch Docker, Bobridge, Neil van der Ploeg and Jack Anderson (BudgetForklifts).

With two laps to go, the break held a 1:24 minute advantage through the finish line and as they turned onto the climb for the penultimate time, Hepburn put in an attack to go solo and was joined by Spokes and Ewan and discarded the passengers.

Earle was riding on the front of the bunch which showed no desperation to bring back the break which had become nine riders by the time they came round for the bell lap with Hepburn and Flakemore leading.

A 1:30 minute deficient to the reduced peloton meant the likes of Evans and Porte would have to drop the hammer on the final climb if they wanted the gold medal.

Lapthorne was the first rider to attack from the breakaway and did so at the almost exact some spot as his did in 2007 when he won the title. Hepburn jumped on his wheel to close it down when Lapthorne tried again, it was Hepburn and Ewan going after him. Van der Ploeg was next to latch on just before Lapthorne gave it one last dig but it was Ewan who crested the KOM solo.

With the final seven kilometres a fast descent, Ewan was caught by Bobridge with four chasers behind them. By the time they reached Fisken Rd, it was all back together again while the peloton's chances of victor were relying on the break playing cat and mouse as the race winning attacks never eventuated from Evans or Porte.

Spokes attacked just as the six-rider group of Hepburn, van der Ploeg, Haussler, Ewan, Flakemore and Morton came back together in the final 3km.

From that point a sprint finish was inevitable and it was Haussler's timing of his sprint that got him over the line in first place just as he chain was falling off.


#Rider Name (Country) TeamResult
1Heinrich Haussler (Aus) IAM Cycling4:47:24
2Caleb Ewan (Aus) Orica GreenEdge
3Neil Van Der Ploeg (Aus) Avanti Racing Team
4Campbell Flakemore (Aus) BMC Racing Team
5Samuel Spokes (Aus) Drapac Professional Cycling
6Jack Bobridge (Aus) Team Budget Forklifts
7Angus Morton (Aus) JBC0:00:09
8Adam Hansen (Aus) Lotto Soudal0:00:48
9Steele Von Hoff (Aus) NFTO0:00:52
10Simon Clarke (Aus) Orica GreenEdge
11Cadel Evans (Aus) BMC Racing Team
12Travis Meyer (Aus) Drapac Professional Cycling
13Jack Anderson (Aus)
14Cameron Bayly (Aus) Cycling Team
15Luke Durbridge (Aus) Orica GreenEdge
16Lachlan Norris (Aus) Drapac Professional Cycling
17Oliver Ket-Spark (Aus) Cycling Team
18Nathan Earle (Aus) Team Sky
19Jai Crawford (Aus) Kinan Cycling Team
20Zakkari Dempster (Aus) Bora-Argon 18
21Adam Phelan (Aus) Drapac Professional Cycling
22Richie Porte (Aus) Team Sky
23David Tanner (Aus) IAM Cycling
24Michael Crosbie (Aus) African Wildlife Safaris Cycling Team
25Mark O'Brien (Aus) Avanti Racing Team
26Daniel Mcconnell (Aus) Trek Factory Racing
27Timothy Roe (Aus) Drapac Professional Cycling
28Peter Milostic (Aus)
29Cameron Meyer (Aus) Orica GreenEdge
30Simon Gillett (Aus)
31Michael Hepburn (Aus) Orica GreenEdge
32Benjamin Dyball (Aus) Avanti Racing Team
33Patrick Lane (Aus) African Wildlife Safaris Cycling Team
34Darren Lapthorne (Aus) Drapac Professional Cycling
35Lachlan David Morton (Aus) JBC
36Joseph Lewis (Aus) Hincapie Racing Team0:01:09
37Mathew Hayman (Aus) Orica GreenEdge
38Stuart Grimsey (Aus)
39Nathan Elliott (Aus) H&R Block Pro Cycling0:02:38
40Jayden Copp (Aus) Charter Mason Giant Racing Team0:04:21
41Chris Winn (Aus)0:05:19
42Robbie Hucker (Aus) Drapac Professional Cycling
43Michael Rogers (Aus) Tinkoff-Saxo
44Mitchell Docker (Aus) Orica GreenEdge
45Brendan Johnston (Aus)0:06:36
46Mitchell Lovelock-Fay (Aus) Avanti Racing Team
47Cameron Peterson (Aus)
48Cameron Wurf (Aus)
49Brendan Canty (Aus) Team Budget Forklifts0:06:43
50Fabio Calabria (Aus) CSN0:09:13
51Graeme Brown (Aus)
52William Clarke (Aus) Drapac Professional Cycling
53Jordan Kerby (Aus) Drapac Professional Cycling
54Bernard Sulzberger (Aus) Drapac Professional Cycling
55Michael England (Aus)
56Thomas Robinson (Aus)
Rohan Dennis (Aus) BMC Racing Team
DNFDamien Howson (Aus) Orica GreenEdge
DNFAlan Iacuone (Aus)
DNFShannon Johnson (Aus) Charter Mason Giant Racing Team
DNFBrenton Jones (Aus) Drapac Professional Cycling
DNFSean Lake (Aus) African Wildlife Safaris Cycling Team
DNFRyan Macanally (Aus) Charter Mason Giant Racing Team
DNFMalcom Rudolph (Aus) Drapac Professional Cycling
DNFPatrick Shaw (Aus) Avanti Racing Team
DNFStuart Shaw (Aus) Cycling Team
DNFAaron Donnelly (Aus)
DNFScott Sunderland (Aus) Team Budget Forklifts
DNFPaul Van Der Ploeg (Aus)
DNFNicholas Francesco Squillari (Aus)
DNFMitchell Mulhern (Aus) Team Budget Forklifts
DNFJulian Jacobs (Aus)
DNFMark Fagg (Aus)
DNFCraig Evers (Aus) Data #3 Symantec Racing Team p/b Scody
DNFBrodie Talbot (Aus) Team Budget Forklifts
DNFAdam Allen (Aus) Data #3 Symantec Racing Team p/b Scody
DNFKenneth Ballhause (Aus)
DNFNick Bensley (Aus)
DNFJosh Berry (Aus) Team Budget Forklifts
DNFAndrew Blair (Aus)
DNFJonathan Bolton (Aus) Navitas Satalyst Racing Team
DNFMatt Boys (Aus)
DNFKyle Bridgwood (Aus) Data #3 Symantec Racing Team p/b Scody
DNFJames Butler (Aus)
DNFPeter Casey (Aus)
DNFRyan Cottrell (Aus)
DNFLuke Cridland (Aus)
DNFStephen Cunningham (Aus)
DNFJordan Davies (Aus)
DNFLuke Davison (Aus) Team Budget Forklifts
DNFRowan Dever (Aus)
DNFCallan Douglas (Aus)
DNFDave Evans (Aus)
DNFLuke Fetch (Aus)
DNFAli Foot (Aus)
DNFCameron Fraser (Aus)
DNFDane Frey (Aus)
DNFChristopher Fuller (Aus)
DNFNick Gatland (Aus)
DNFAnthony Giacoppo (Aus) Avanti Racing Team
DNFDeclan Gregory (Aus)
DNFTimothy Guy (Aus)
DNFBrad Hamblett (Aus)
DNFAshley Hawker (Aus)
DNFBen Hill (Aus) Charter Mason Giant Racing Team
DNFCraig Hutton (Aus)
DNFSaxon Irvine (Aus)
DNFCameron Ivory (Aus)
DNFLuke Jones (Aus)
DNFLucien Keene (Aus)
DNFMatthias Kiernan (Aus)
DNFMatthew Leonard (Aus) Navitas Satalyst Racing Team
DNFShaun Lewis (Aus)
DNFJake Magee (Aus) Charter Mason Giant Racing Team
DNFLiam Mccarthy (Aus)
DNFCameron Mcdonald (Aus)
DNFDavid Mclean (Aus)
DNFDavid Melville (Aus) Data #3 Symantec Racing Team p/b Scody
DNFDavid Munro (Aus)
DNFTommy Nankervis (Aus) Team Budget Forklifts
DNFChristopher Papastavros (Aus)
DNFDavid Parker (Aus)
DNFAndrew Pickering (Aus)
DNFDylan Pierre-Humbert (Aus)
DNFJoshua Prete (Aus)
DNFThomas Rischmueller (Aus)
DNFMatthew Rizzuto (Aus)
DNFDavid Rugendyke (Aus)
DNFAllan Satchell (Aus)
DNFStuart Smith (Aus) Cycling Team
DNFAlexander Smyth (Aus) African Wildlife Safaris Cycling Team
DNFTyler Spurrell (Aus)
DNFChris Stack (Aus)
DNFLachlan Stewart (Aus)
DNFJoel Robert Strachan (Aus) Navitas Satalyst Racing Team
DNFJosh Taylor (Aus) Charter Mason Giant Racing Team
DNFAngus Tobin (Aus)
DNFMark Tupalski (Aus)
DNFAdam Versteege (Aus)
DNFKane Walker (Aus) Navitas Satalyst Racing Team
DNFJoel Walsh (Aus)
DNFAaron Watts (Aus)
DNFEdward White (Aus)
DNFMarc Williams (Aus) Data #3 Symantec Racing Team p/b Scody
DNFSam Witmitz (Aus) Team Budget Forklifts
DNFCallum O'Sullivan (Aus)
DNFGlenn O'Shea (Aus) Team Budget Forklifts
DNFWesley Sulzberger (Aus) Navitas Satalyst Racing Team

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Zeb Woodpower

Zeb Woodpower is the Australian editor at Cyclingnews. Based in Sydney, Zeb provides an Australian perspective on the sport with articles ranging from the local to the global . He joined Cyclingnews in 2013.

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