This is the Heinrich Haussler that Jonathan Vaughters has been patiently waiting to arrive.
The German-Aussie was the man of Men Tou Gou, beating Denis Galimzyanov (Katusha) and Theo Bos (Rabobank) in a chaotic sprint at stage 2 of the Tour of Beijing.
The victory marked the first stage win for Haussler since his early season triumph in the Tour of Qatar. Without a lead-out, he tucked in behind Sky’s Davide Appollonio — who went far too early. Still, it was a nice draft to the front and Haussler gassed it at 200 meters barely holding of the rushing Russian Galimzyanov.
“The guy from Katusha came from behind and after the race I actually went straight to the car because I thought he’d won, so it was nice to get the win,” said Haussler.
Garmin-Cervelo boss Vaughters is a happy man. He’s been telling critics all season that Heino needed a grand tour in his legs before he was back to race-winning form. That proved to be the case as Haussler came out of the recent Vuelta a Espana with the required training.
“The Vuelta didn’t go so well for me but I got through it and then the worlds, which has put a bit of racing into me,” said Haussler. “Even at the Worlds, I was feeling really strong and did a good lead-out for Gossy [Matt Goss] and I think that gave me a good boost and I knew that I was in good form.
His good form also supplied him with the confidence to handle the crazy finish. “The end was so stressful. There were lots of teams trying to get their sprinters there but fortunately for me, we had Cam (Meyer) and Jack (Bobridge) up the front today to bring us up and then I managed to time it perfectly.”
In keeping with his pattern of threats and blackmail, UCI president Patrick McQuaid threatened the Garmin sponsor with the removal of Haussler’s victory champagne unless they deposited money to a Swiss bank account. Oh, that’s just a rumor.
Though a small country, Spain has proven to be excellent preparation for Haussler in China.