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Australian national champion Heinrich Haussler lines up on Sunday for another attempt at taking home the hallowed pavé trophy of Paris-Roubaix. As of Saturday he has yet more motivation to achieve one of his career dreams of winning the race, due to becoming a father for the first time to twin boys.
He had flown into Compiegne the morning of the race presentation after being home with his wife for the birth of their children.
Haussler kicked off the season with a magnificent first win at the national championships and continued this strong form through to the Tour Down Under. However by his own admission his form and results dropped once he arrived back in Europe after an extended stay in Australia.
We managed to track down the IAM Cycling rider the day prior to the big race at the team presentation.
Obvious question: does he feel his late night, the time spent in the hospital with his wife plus his dash from there to Compiegne would have a detrimental effect on his form?
“Definitely not,” he insisted. “I’ve got that much more motivation now, I mean even in Flanders (I had motivation).
“Before that though I have to be honest…all the races since I’ve come back from Australia have been in the cold. Normally the cold and the wet is where I have really good legs, yet I seemed to be really shit. But since Harelbeke, I seem to be getting better week-on-week.
“Since Flanders I’ve felt really good. I missed the split over the Tiegemburg, we had two guys in the front group so I couldn’t really do anything about that. If you have two guys in the front you can’t chase your team mates down.”
CyclingTips asked the new father if he would eventually like to see his sons racing and taking on the cobbles of Northern France.
“I’m not saying I had a bad experience when I was young but, you know, sport rips the family apart,” he answered. “I left Australia when I was 14. If they want to do cycling I’ll support them, but if they want to play soccer or do something different then I’ll support that as well.”
Likely motivated by the thoughts of those two, Haussler’s parting words showed his frame of mind.
“Tomorrow it’s f**kin all in, and I’m gonna do a good race”.