It makes complete sense to me why Heinrich Haussler decided to changehis mind and turn his back on Australian cycling - financial sense,that is, writes Michael Tomalaris.
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7 Apr 2015 - 11:32 PM  UPDATED 13 Apr 2015 - 3:36 PM

It makes complete sense to me why Heinrich Haussler decided to change his mind and turn his back on Australian cycling - financial sense, that is.

After
all when it comes to sport (and professional cycling in particular),
the corporate opportunities in Germany far outweigh those available in
Australia.

Haussler is the most celebrated and successful
rider currently carrying a German licence and it goes without saying
his career has exploded into life in the last 12 months.

At
a time when German cycling is screaming for a new hero, in an era when
many fans of the sport in that country are bombarded and disillusioned
by dope cheats, Haussler is seen as a rider who can bring restored
faith.

German cycling has effectively thumbed its nose at Haussler since he turned professional in 2005.

That was the year he first came to international notice when taking stage 19 honours at the Tour of Spain.

Few Germans realised then who he was, let alone Australian followers of world cycling.

Here
was an Aussie-born journeyman who had taken the advice of his
influential father and decided to follow a dream by leaving the town of
Inverell in country NSW to pursue a career on the big stage.

It's a great story - one that would make for good reading in any sport's journal.

Haussler told SBS in July of Germany's failure to recognise or acknowledge him even after his solid performances at the Milan-San Remo in March this year when he finished runner-up, and his top-10 showing at the Paris-Roubaix.

Only when tears of joy welled his face on crossing the finish line in Colmar in the Tour de France did German cycling change its tune, especially as Haussler made it publicly obvious that Australia was his country of choice.

He openly explained how he "felt more Aussie than German" even after having lived there for more than 10 years.

He explained how his only support came from fans following his career from his country of birth.

Interestingly, despite his allegiances to Australia, Haussler had never really pursued the idea of formally applying for an Australian license.

I'm
told to this day he has never officially contacted Cycling Australia
and outlined his future plans of possibly wearing the green and gold at
next year's road World Championships in Victoria.

Too bad, because he would have been one of the first selected on current form.

As
a dual citizen, it seems to me Haussler may be 'hedging his bets' on
who he decides to represent. Don't get me wrong he has every right to
do so if he desires.

As far as I can tell, Haussler is a
true-blue Aussie - he's Aussie through and through. But does he owe
Australian cycling anything? I'm not so sure.

Unlike other
Australian-born sportsmen and women who have been raised here and
developed their skills through the various institutions such as the
AIS, only to turn their back on their country, Haussler didn't have
that opportunity.

Fast-forward to August 2009, and it wouldn't surprise me if Haussler is suddenly being lured by the big cheque books to keep his German license.

If he can make a decent living from representing his chosen sport as a German, I say good luck to him.