Haussler looking to final stage of Tour Down Under: “Sunday I still have a good chance for victory”
Already first in the Australian road race championships, fifth in the People’s Choice Classic and eighth and fourth on stages of the Santos Tour Down Under, Heinrich Haussler believes that he should be in the running for what would be his second win of the new season on Sunday’s final leg of the WorldTour race.
Haussler was fourth in Friday’s bunch sprint at the end of stage four and is determined to improve on that when the race concludes.
“The legs are good and once again not much was missing to get the win,” he said. “But sprints in cycling will never be an exact science. Sunday I still have a good chance for victory.”
The team’s directeur sportif Kjell Carlström said that the team did everything it could to try to snag victory on Friday.
“In this kind of finish you need a little bit of luck because all the guys are pretty close. The WorldTour level is really high. We still have everything staked on Heino and the guys rode to their limit for him in the final.
“It would have been hard to do better since we performed to our maximum. Given the route had a slightly downhill arrival, we even took the climb with a 55 tooth front ring.”
Haussler paid credit to his team-mates, saying that they had done everything to try to set him up. He put the near miss down to how things played out in the finale. “The sprint was very tactical with a tail wind and a slight descent,” he said. “After following Roger Kluge, I jumped on Meersman’s wheel on the right but the others managed to outflank us on the left. It’ll come together one of these days.”
Haussler is not in contention for the overall and therefore will likely save himself on Saturday’s penultimate stage to Old Willunga Hill.
The one exception to that would be if he can slip away early and build enough of an advantage with a group to try to hold off the specialist climbers. Otherwise, the best tactic is to keep his powder dry and then go all out on the last day.