Haussler entered the first Grand Tour of the season on the back of an elongated break from competition after the classics and is now finding his legs as the race travels up the spine of Italy.
“I remember from last year how hard it was,” he said. “The three days in Holland were, I won’t say super easy, they were stressful like crazy but weren’t that hard. I noticed as soon we got to Italy that, okay, now the Giro has started.”
Haussler had designs to figure in what was a hectic fifth stage on Wednesday that saw Andre Greipel (Lotto Soudal) pull away from rivals on an uphill kick to the finish in Benevento. Stage five, like the one before it, proved to be deceptively difficult despite being chalked down as a flat run.
The father to infant twins finished 22nd in the second group that crossed the line four seconds in arrears of Greipel, who steamed ahead of Milan-San Remo champion Arnaud Demare (FDJ) and Sonny Colbrelli (Bardiani-CSF) to take his first win of this Giro.
Haussler will now look forward to further stage victory opportunities with IAM, which has assembled a relatively opportunistic and cohesive squad for the race.
“We’re not really focusing on GC just because with Mathias Frank and the other guys that go do GC, they’re more focused on Romandie, Tour de Suisse and more towards the Tour de France. So we’re here more looking for stages, but it’s also not that easy,” he said.
“I actually had a longer break off the bike than I intended after the classics, and just also with the twins everything was full gas afterwards.
“I feel good and I wanted to come to the Giro and ride into it. It would be nice to get a good result here, have a go, but really it’s more getting the three weeks in the legs, have a little break after and then build up for the second part of the season.”