Cervelo TestTeam's Heinrich Haussler won today's Stage Two of Paris-Nice on a day marked with high winds and two crashes.
He continued the start-up Cervelo squad's 2009-season dominance after earning himself the sprint points jersey in the Tour of Qatar and two stage wins in the Volta ao Algarve in Portugal last month.
A breakaway quickly formed in the hopes of getting media attention and maybe a stab at Contador's yellow jersey. Aitor Hernández (Euskaltel-Euskadi), Aleksandr Kuschynski (Liquigas) and Christophe Laurent (Agritubel), and Piet Rooijakkers (Skil-Shimano) built up a lead of over seven minutes, but the strong crosswinds of the day were taking their toll on the front leaders.
Astana was keeping watch over the peloton and let the breakaway go, but the sprint teams soon joined in to reel in the breakaway. A crash with 50 kilometers to go, however, disrupted their pace, and forced Kevin De Weert (Quick Step), Vladimir Efimkin (AG2R La Mondiale), and Jose Angel Gomez (Cervelo) to hit the tarmac hard, but they did not abandon the race.
After hard chasing in the last 40 kilometers, the break was reeled in, and teams Columbia, Cervelo, and Rabobank were fighting to set up a sprint finish.
Heinrich Haussler (Cervelo) jumped at the chance with a few hundred meters to go and beat Mark Renshaw (Columbia) and Mirco Lorenzetto (Lampre) to the line with a noticeable gap.
Another crash inside the last two kilometers nearly sent yellow-jersey, Alberto Contador (Astana) down, but he luckily avoided the damage.
Tomorrow's Stage Three looks to be set up for another sprint finish ahead of four consecutive days in the mountains, and Haussler will be looking to continue Cervelo's winning streak.