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Showing signs of improving form and notching up his top finish thus far in the Giro d’Italia, Australian road race champion Heinrich Haussler sprinted to fourth place at the end of stage 17 of the Giro d’Italia on Wednesday.
The IAM Cycling rider finished just behind Sacha Modolo (Lampre-Merida), Giacomo Nizzolo (Trek Factory Racing) and Giant-Alpecin’s Luka Mezgec in Lugano, improving on the tenth place he took on stage 13.
It was Haussler’s best result since netting fourth on stage one of Paris-Nice and indicates that he is getting back to good form.
However he played down the result at the finish, saying that he is not satisfied and plans to try again.
“This fourth place feels good for the team, but tomorrow no one will remember it,” he said. “Of course, for my confidence it is nice, especially since in such a mountainous Giro we have to seize every possible opportunity.”
Haussler had his sole win this year back in January when he took the national road race championships and then took second on stage six of the Santos Tour Down Under. He hasn’t finished on a podium since then, though, and is hoping for another chance.
“I felt strong all day, but when you are sprinting alone, it is never easy to get into a podium position. Besides, the finishes in the Giro are really Italian,” he said. “The work that Lampre did just confirms that. We are still hoping to get a shot at a stage win in Milan on Sunday for the final.”
Team directeur sportif Kjell Carlstrom said that the plan was that a break of approximately ten riders would go clear and that one of the team’s riders would be present. However the day’s move only had three riders in it, and no IAM Cycling competitor was present.
Once that move came back attention shifted to the squad doing everything it could to take a result.
“We were particularly attentive, especially with Sylvain Chavanel, who had a good shot at playing for a win in this very difficult final,” he said. “In the end it was Heinrich who had to fend for himself, and his fourth place is a great reward for all his hard work as well as for the team’s during this third, less complicated week.”