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 /health.com), 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) Team||Result|
|1||Heinrich Haussler (Aus) IAM Cycling||4:47:24|
|2||Caleb Ewan (Aus) Orica GreenEdge||Row 1 - Cell 2|
|3||Neil Van Der Ploeg (Aus) Avanti Racing Team||Row 2 - Cell 2|
|4||Campbell Flakemore (Aus) BMC Racing Team||Row 3 - Cell 2|
|5||Samuel Spokes (Aus) Drapac Professional Cycling||Row 4 - Cell 2|
|6||Jack Bobridge (Aus) Team Budget Forklifts||Row 5 - Cell 2|
|7||Angus Morton (Aus) JBC||0:00:09|
|8||Adam Hansen (Aus) Lotto Soudal||0:00:48|
|9||Steele Von Hoff (Aus) NFTO||0:00:52|
|10||Simon Clarke (Aus) Orica GreenEdge||Row 9 - Cell 2|
|11||Cadel Evans (Aus) BMC Racing Team||Row 10 - Cell 2|
|12||Travis Meyer (Aus) Drapac Professional Cycling||Row 11 - Cell 2|
|13||Jack Anderson (Aus)||Row 12 - Cell 2|
|14||Cameron Bayly (Aus) Search2Retain-Health.com.au Cycling Team||Row 13 - Cell 2|
|15||Luke Durbridge (Aus) Orica GreenEdge||Row 14 - Cell 2|
|16||Lachlan Norris (Aus) Drapac Professional Cycling||Row 15 - Cell 2|
|17||Oliver Ket-Spark (Aus) Search2Retain-Health.com.au Cycling Team||Row 16 - Cell 2|
|18||Nathan Earle (Aus) Team Sky||Row 17 - Cell 2|
|19||Jai Crawford (Aus) Kinan Cycling Team||Row 18 - Cell 2|
|20||Zakkari Dempster (Aus) Bora-Argon 18||Row 19 - Cell 2|
|21||Adam Phelan (Aus) Drapac Professional Cycling||Row 20 - Cell 2|
|22||Richie Porte (Aus) Team Sky||Row 21 - Cell 2|
|23||David Tanner (Aus) IAM Cycling||Row 22 - Cell 2|
|24||Michael Crosbie (Aus) African Wildlife Safaris Cycling Team||Row 23 - Cell 2|
|25||Mark O'Brien (Aus) Avanti Racing Team||Row 24 - Cell 2|
|26||Daniel Mcconnell (Aus) Trek Factory Racing||Row 25 - Cell 2|
|27||Timothy Roe (Aus) Drapac Professional Cycling||Row 26 - Cell 2|
|28||Peter Milostic (Aus)||Row 27 - Cell 2|
|29||Cameron Meyer (Aus) Orica GreenEdge||Row 28 - Cell 2|
|30||Simon Gillett (Aus)||Row 29 - Cell 2|
|31||Michael Hepburn (Aus) Orica GreenEdge||Row 30 - Cell 2|
|32||Benjamin Dyball (Aus) Avanti Racing Team||Row 31 - Cell 2|
|33||Patrick Lane (Aus) African Wildlife Safaris Cycling Team||Row 32 - Cell 2|
|34||Darren Lapthorne (Aus) Drapac Professional Cycling||Row 33 - Cell 2|
|35||Lachlan David Morton (Aus) JBC||Row 34 - Cell 2|
|36||Joseph Lewis (Aus) Hincapie Racing Team||0:01:09|
|37||Mathew Hayman (Aus) Orica GreenEdge||Row 36 - Cell 2|
|38||Stuart Grimsey (Aus)||Row 37 - Cell 2|
|39||Nathan Elliott (Aus) H&R Block Pro Cycling||0:02:38|
|40||Jayden Copp (Aus) Charter Mason Giant Racing Team||0:04:21|
|41||Chris Winn (Aus)||0:05:19|
|42||Robbie Hucker (Aus) Drapac Professional Cycling||Row 41 - Cell 2|
|43||Michael Rogers (Aus) Tinkoff-Saxo||Row 42 - Cell 2|
|44||Mitchell Docker (Aus) Orica GreenEdge||Row 43 - Cell 2|
|45||Brendan Johnston (Aus)||0:06:36|
|46||Mitchell Lovelock-Fay (Aus) Avanti Racing Team||Row 45 - Cell 2|
|47||Cameron Peterson (Aus)||Row 46 - Cell 2|
|48||Cameron Wurf (Aus)||Row 47 - Cell 2|
|49||Brendan Canty (Aus) Team Budget Forklifts||0:06:43|
|50||Fabio Calabria (Aus) CSN||0:09:13|
|51||Graeme Brown (Aus)||Row 50 - Cell 2|
|52||William Clarke (Aus) Drapac Professional Cycling||Row 51 - Cell 2|
|53||Jordan Kerby (Aus) Drapac Professional Cycling||Row 52 - Cell 2|
|54||Bernard Sulzberger (Aus) Drapac Professional Cycling||Row 53 - Cell 2|
|55||Michael England (Aus)||Row 54 - Cell 2|
|56||Thomas Robinson (Aus)||Row 55 - Cell 2|
|Row 56 - Cell 0||Rohan Dennis (Aus) BMC Racing Team||Row 56 - Cell 2|
|DNF||Damien Howson (Aus) Orica GreenEdge||Row 57 - Cell 2|
|DNF||Alan Iacuone (Aus)||Row 58 - Cell 2|
|DNF||Shannon Johnson (Aus) Charter Mason Giant Racing Team||Row 59 - Cell 2|
|DNF||Brenton Jones (Aus) Drapac Professional Cycling||Row 60 - Cell 2|
|DNF||Sean Lake (Aus) African Wildlife Safaris Cycling Team||Row 61 - Cell 2|
|DNF||Ryan Macanally (Aus) Charter Mason Giant Racing Team||Row 62 - Cell 2|
|DNF||Malcom Rudolph (Aus) Drapac Professional Cycling||Row 63 - Cell 2|
|DNF||Patrick Shaw (Aus) Avanti Racing Team||Row 64 - Cell 2|
|DNF||Stuart Shaw (Aus) Search2Retain-Health.com.au Cycling Team||Row 65 - Cell 2|
|DNF||Aaron Donnelly (Aus)||Row 66 - Cell 2|
|DNF||Scott Sunderland (Aus) Team Budget Forklifts||Row 67 - Cell 2|
|DNF||Paul Van Der Ploeg (Aus)||Row 68 - Cell 2|
|DNF||Nicholas Francesco Squillari (Aus)||Row 69 - Cell 2|
|DNF||Mitchell Mulhern (Aus) Team Budget Forklifts||Row 70 - Cell 2|
|DNF||Julian Jacobs (Aus)||Row 71 - Cell 2|
|DNF||Mark Fagg (Aus)||Row 72 - Cell 2|
|DNF||Craig Evers (Aus) Data #3 Symantec Racing Team p/b Scody||Row 73 - Cell 2|
|DNF||Brodie Talbot (Aus) Team Budget Forklifts||Row 74 - Cell 2|
|DNF||Adam Allen (Aus) Data #3 Symantec Racing Team p/b Scody||Row 75 - Cell 2|
|DNF||Kenneth Ballhause (Aus)||Row 76 - Cell 2|
|DNF||Nick Bensley (Aus)||Row 77 - Cell 2|
|DNF||Josh Berry (Aus) Team Budget Forklifts||Row 78 - Cell 2|
|DNF||Andrew Blair (Aus)||Row 79 - Cell 2|
|DNF||Jonathan Bolton (Aus) Navitas Satalyst Racing Team||Row 80 - Cell 2|
|DNF||Matt Boys (Aus)||Row 81 - Cell 2|
|DNF||Kyle Bridgwood (Aus) Data #3 Symantec Racing Team p/b Scody||Row 82 - Cell 2|
|DNF||James Butler (Aus)||Row 83 - Cell 2|
|DNF||Peter Casey (Aus)||Row 84 - Cell 2|
|DNF||Ryan Cottrell (Aus)||Row 85 - Cell 2|
|DNF||Luke Cridland (Aus)||Row 86 - Cell 2|
|DNF||Stephen Cunningham (Aus)||Row 87 - Cell 2|
|DNF||Jordan Davies (Aus)||Row 88 - Cell 2|
|DNF||Luke Davison (Aus) Team Budget Forklifts||Row 89 - Cell 2|
|DNF||Rowan Dever (Aus)||Row 90 - Cell 2|
|DNF||Callan Douglas (Aus)||Row 91 - Cell 2|
|DNF||Dave Evans (Aus)||Row 92 - Cell 2|
|DNF||Luke Fetch (Aus)||Row 93 - Cell 2|
|DNF||Ali Foot (Aus)||Row 94 - Cell 2|
|DNF||Cameron Fraser (Aus)||Row 95 - Cell 2|
|DNF||Dane Frey (Aus)||Row 96 - Cell 2|
|DNF||Christopher Fuller (Aus)||Row 97 - Cell 2|
|DNF||Nick Gatland (Aus)||Row 98 - Cell 2|
|DNF||Anthony Giacoppo (Aus) Avanti Racing Team||Row 99 - Cell 2|
|DNF||Declan Gregory (Aus)||Row 100 - Cell 2|
|DNF||Timothy Guy (Aus)||Row 101 - Cell 2|
|DNF||Brad Hamblett (Aus)||Row 102 - Cell 2|
|DNF||Ashley Hawker (Aus)||Row 103 - Cell 2|
|DNF||Ben Hill (Aus) Charter Mason Giant Racing Team||Row 104 - Cell 2|
|DNF||Craig Hutton (Aus)||Row 105 - Cell 2|
|DNF||Saxon Irvine (Aus)||Row 106 - Cell 2|
|DNF||Cameron Ivory (Aus)||Row 107 - Cell 2|
|DNF||Luke Jones (Aus)||Row 108 - Cell 2|
|DNF||Lucien Keene (Aus)||Row 109 - Cell 2|
|DNF||Matthias Kiernan (Aus)||Row 110 - Cell 2|
|DNF||Matthew Leonard (Aus) Navitas Satalyst Racing Team||Row 111 - Cell 2|
|DNF||Shaun Lewis (Aus)||Row 112 - Cell 2|
|DNF||Jake Magee (Aus) Charter Mason Giant Racing Team||Row 113 - Cell 2|
|DNF||Liam Mccarthy (Aus)||Row 114 - Cell 2|
|DNF||Cameron Mcdonald (Aus)||Row 115 - Cell 2|
|DNF||David Mclean (Aus)||Row 116 - Cell 2|
|DNF||David Melville (Aus) Data #3 Symantec Racing Team p/b Scody||Row 117 - Cell 2|
|DNF||David Munro (Aus)||Row 118 - Cell 2|
|DNF||Tommy Nankervis (Aus) Team Budget Forklifts||Row 119 - Cell 2|
|DNF||Christopher Papastavros (Aus)||Row 120 - Cell 2|
|DNF||David Parker (Aus)||Row 121 - Cell 2|
|DNF||Andrew Pickering (Aus)||Row 122 - Cell 2|
|DNF||Dylan Pierre-Humbert (Aus)||Row 123 - Cell 2|
|DNF||Joshua Prete (Aus)||Row 124 - Cell 2|
|DNF||Thomas Rischmueller (Aus)||Row 125 - Cell 2|
|DNF||Matthew Rizzuto (Aus)||Row 126 - Cell 2|
|DNF||David Rugendyke (Aus)||Row 127 - Cell 2|
|DNF||Allan Satchell (Aus)||Row 128 - Cell 2|
|DNF||Stuart Smith (Aus) Search2Retain-Health.com.au Cycling Team||Row 129 - Cell 2|
|DNF||Alexander Smyth (Aus) African Wildlife Safaris Cycling Team||Row 130 - Cell 2|
|DNF||Tyler Spurrell (Aus)||Row 131 - Cell 2|
|DNF||Chris Stack (Aus)||Row 132 - Cell 2|
|DNF||Lachlan Stewart (Aus)||Row 133 - Cell 2|
|DNF||Joel Robert Strachan (Aus) Navitas Satalyst Racing Team||Row 134 - Cell 2|
|DNF||Josh Taylor (Aus) Charter Mason Giant Racing Team||Row 135 - Cell 2|
|DNF||Angus Tobin (Aus)||Row 136 - Cell 2|
|DNF||Mark Tupalski (Aus)||Row 137 - Cell 2|
|DNF||Adam Versteege (Aus)||Row 138 - Cell 2|
|DNF||Kane Walker (Aus) Navitas Satalyst Racing Team||Row 139 - Cell 2|
|DNF||Joel Walsh (Aus)||Row 140 - Cell 2|
|DNF||Aaron Watts (Aus)||Row 141 - Cell 2|
|DNF||Edward White (Aus)||Row 142 - Cell 2|
|DNF||Marc Williams (Aus) Data #3 Symantec Racing Team p/b Scody||Row 143 - Cell 2|
|DNF||Sam Witmitz (Aus) Team Budget Forklifts||Row 144 - Cell 2|
|DNF||Callum O'Sullivan (Aus)||Row 145 - Cell 2|
|DNF||Glenn O'Shea (Aus) Team Budget Forklifts||Row 146 - Cell 2|
|DNF||Wesley Sulzberger (Aus) Navitas Satalyst Racing Team||Row 147 - Cell 2|
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