Heinrich Haussler has backed Michael Matthews to become Australia’s second ever road world champion this year.
Sophie Smith

Cycling Central
10 Jan 2019 - 1:20 PM  UPDATED 10 Jan 2019 - 1:21 PM

Haussler hopes to round out his 2019 season supporting the Tour de France green jersey winner on the lumpy, twisting roads of Yorkshire, England.

The 34-year-old speculated three-time gold medallist Peter Sagan is the only man that may stand in the way of Matthews realising the dream.

“If Bling is in the same form he was last year at the end of the season, like the way he was racing in Canada, there is only really one guy who can beat him,” said Haussler.

Matthews (Sunweb) had a torrid start to last season through illness and injury, which he turned it around from August with a stage win at the BinckBank Tour followed by a victory at Canada’s GP de Quebec and Montreal.

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“It’d be really good. I’m getting older now and I’d really love to be a part of a team that could win a world championship. It’d be a pretty big party,” Haussler continued.

The Bahrain-Merida road captain will commence his WorldTour season at the Tour Down Under from Tuesday.

Haussler isn’t generally keen on Grand Tours despite supporting Vincenzo Nibali at the Tour de France last year.

The spring classics and UCI Road World Championships will be among his favoured objectives this year.

“The classics are the number one goal and Roubaix again will be my main goal,” he said.

“Matej Mohoric also wants to do the cobbled classics and when he is going, he is going. Everyone saw last year how he won BinckBack Tour and Deutschland Tour.

"Sonny [Colbrelli] is also there. I think with Sonny in Flanders, he is someone who could do a podium or even win. I’ll be definitely there to help those guys.

“At the moment, from my side, no Grand Tour,” Haussler continued.

“I’m hoping it stays that way but if the team says you need to do a Grand Tour, or we need you here, then I’ll be there.

“With the Worlds at the end of the season, I’d like to have a big rest after the classics and then concentrate on the second part of the season.

"So maybe I do two big blocks of altitude, maybe even do BinckBank or Poland and then all of those one-dayers. The Worlds are so suited to the Australian riders.”

Cadel Evans currently stands as the nation’s only road world champion. Rohan Dennis, who has joined Haussler Bahrain-Merida this season, claimed the individual time trial title last year in Innsbruck, Austria.