Heinrich Haussler has ruled out a start at the Tour de France this year with the Spring Classics set to comprise the “pinnacle” of his season with Garmin-Barracuda.
The team I think would like me to go good in Flanders but I see my chances as bigger in San Remo just because I missed it back in 2009 and that close to Cav - it’s kind of still in my head and something I still really want to win.
The London Olympic Games is also a major objective for the 27 year old, who hopes to earn selection in the Australia road race team after a licence designation change in 2010.
“In this team, when you go to the Tour de France, there’s Tyler (Farrar) there going for the green or going for the sprints then also the team’s going for GC (general classification) and they’re going for the team classification,” Haussler told Cycling Central yesterday.
“It’s not just like you can sit in the bunch and take it easy, you’re always, every day, working for someone and on your limit so most probably I’m going to come out of the Tour just absolutely dead. There’s only six days to the road race so that’s why it’s absolutely not an option.”
Haussler is set to compete in the classics before preparing for the Tour of California with the Tour of Switzerland, Tour of Poland and Tour of Wallonie, which finishes two days before the Games road race, also on his program.
The Inverell-born sprinter is currently racing at the Tour Down Under in Adelaide, still in pursuit of a stage win and working with a new lead-out train set to help him in his early season endeavours.
“He’s on track for the classics and that’s where we really want him to be on top of his game - San Remo, Harelbeke, Tour of Flanders, Paris-Roubaix those four races are basically going to be the pinnacle of his season and the next big goal is the Olympics,” Garmin manager Allan Peiper said.
Haussler has not competed at the Tour de France since the 2009 edition in which he celebrated his maiden stage victory.
He missed the 2010 race because of persistent knee problems, which were aggravated after a high-speed and controversial crash involving Mark Cavendish.
Haussler decided last year to withdraw from the selection race and focus on other endeavours after the amalgamation of former Cervelo TestTeam and Garmin that brought him, Thor Hushovd and Farrar together as teammates.
But 2012 could be the fresh start he needs.
“What he’s asked for, for some time, is a lead-out train and guys to help him specifically and we’re trying to build that and give that to him,” Peiper said.
“But that also puts the ball back in his court. He needs to also show his leadership qualities with that because having a team also means controlling a team and building the team and telling the team what you want. That’s also a work in progress that we’re working on right now at the Tour Down Under.”
Former Endura Racing professional Jack Bauer, who is currently racing in Australia, could be one of the men to help Haussler reach new heights in 2012.
“Jack Bauer is one of the guys that we recruited specifically to go into that lead-out train for Heino,” Peiper said of the 26-year-old. “He was 18th in the world time-trial championship and he won a bunch sprint in the Tour of Utah last year as well so those two qualities should make for a good lead-out guy - not the last man but say the second last man.
“(Wednesday) he led out Heino and Heino told him to jump at 500, which he did, and Heino hesitated and got boxed in and didn’t follow him so they’re learning how to work off each other and to refine the way they execute in the final.
“Some of these guys have literally not met apart from a training camp in Boulder and they weren’t really training. They haven’t raced with each other, they don’t know each other’s qualities, they don’t trust each other in the sense of ‘I can follow you through a gap or not’, so there’s a lot of things we’ve got to put in place to come together as a team, as it were.”
Haussler represented Australia for the first time at the road world championships in Denmark last year in which he notably led out compatriot Matthew Goss, who won silver.
The Paris-Nice points champion says he has not lost confidence after two difficult seasons. In fact, there’s still a strong desire three years on to go one better than his second-place finish to Cavendish at Milan-San Remo.
“You gain confidence automatically when you ride and I’m not lacking on confidence I just need to get some more racing and I’d like to win a stage here and just get ready for the classics,” Haussler said.
“The team I think would like me to go good in Flanders but I see my chances as bigger in San Remo just because I missed it back in 2009 and was that close to Cav. It’s kind of still in my head and something I still really want to win.”
The Tour Down Under continues today with Stage 4 - a 130km ride from Norwood to Tanunda.