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Can Haussler win Tour of Flanders?

In cycling-crazed Belgium, the Tour of Flanders is one of the main races of the year. The entire nation seems to come to a standstill to watch the 258.9km battle from Brugge to Meerbeke (with plenty of beer-drinking along the way).

Heinrich Haussler has shown that he has the ability to make the right moves, but does Haussler have the firepower to beat the Belgians in their home race, Ronde van Vlaanderen this Sunday? “The Racing-Kangaroo” was ready to take the questions when Andrew Hood (VeloNews) met him and the rest of the Cervélo Test Team in Belgium.

What do you think about racing cobbles in Belgium?
“The cobbles mean something to me… It is like an addiction”. “The fans here in Belgium are unbelievable, you don’t see it anywhere else expect at the Tour de France.”

What do you think about the course of Tour of Flanders?
“Today we did the last 140 kilometres. I saw the two new climbs (Eikenberg and Varent) and the different cobble sections. I know the race well: from the Kwaremont to the finish I have all in my head. The new bit is not really hard, but there are lot of small roads and cobbles.”

What climb scares you the most?
“It would have to be the last climb, the Bosberg, if I am still there in the end with a small group. If you don’t have the legs there then you are stuck, you won’t have a chance if some goes there.”

You have done the race four times already, what have you learned about the race over the years?
“I love this race, it is the most important race of the year. You need the team to be up there, you have to have good position and you need to have the legs. It will split up after the Kwaremont, Paterberg and Koppenberg, which is really when the race starts. There will be about 30 or 40 riders remaining. You have to have a team to keep you there at the front and protected before that point.”

Haussler’s Ronde van Vlaanderen palmarés:
2008 91st
2007 107th after a crash
2006 DNF
2005 89th

Do you believe you can win the race?
“If you look at the results I had in the last couple of weeks… I am not saying I can win, but I could if I had absolutely top form, the team is behind me and everything goes just perfectly”.

“We just need to ride together as a team. We are strong, but we need that luck to race against the teams like Quick Step with Chavanel, Devolder and Boonen. Somehow we have to split them up.

“Then there are the others like Filippo Pozzato. He is so strong, you saw him on Saturday in E3 Prijs when everyone was in the gutter and he made the jump to the front group. Then he did it again in De Panne.

Who else from the Cervélo TestTeam could take the victory on Sunday?
“This team has a lot of big guns in the team with experience. Andreas Klier is the main point of the Classics teams. If we did not have him we would not be riding so well. He tells us the tactics; he has so much experience. He is someone in the team who I consider a role model because he knows it all: at what point in the race to be in front, where we can take it easy etc. ”

“We have not come up with a specific plan, but you have seen who has been up there in these last races. It will be Andreas, Thor and me.”

What rider do you look up to as a role model?
“Tom [Boonen], he is always up there. He has the biggest motor. If he is on top form, 100 percent, then there is no one who can beat him.

Haussler plans to have a week-long holiday after Paris-Roubaix, April 12. Afterwards he will prepare for the Tour de France with a training camp in St. Moritz for two or three weeks, the Bayern-Rundfahrt stage race and either the Tour de Suisse or the Dauphiné Libéré.