Heinrich Haussler is one of the fast-rising young stars of cycling. This 25-year-old member of Cervélo TestTeam has had a blistering start in 2009, including second place finishes in Tour of Qatar, Milan-San Remo and the Tour of Flanders, with impressive top ten stage finishes in Paris-Nice and Volta ao Algarve.
The result of this consistency is the rank of second for Haussler on the UCI classifications of Apr. 6, behind Allan Davis, and two spots ahead of phenom Mark Cavendish.
Haussler, of Australian/German heritage and dual citizenship, was born and raised in Australia, but moved to Europe in his teens to train.
The sprinter has emerged as a persistent threat in the classics. He is mentioned as a potential victor in Paris-Roubaix on Apr. 12, alongside Belgian Tom Boonen of Quickstep, who won last year’s. The race is Haussler’s favorite, so a win would be extra meaningful.
Cervélo teammates Andreas Klier and Thor Hushovd are also considered possible podium finishers at Paris-Roubaix. Another team star is Carlos Sastre, last year’s Tour de France victor, who is a contender this July as well.
As in any sport, luck, or lack thereof, plays a role. In Gent-Wevelgem, his most recent start, Haussler crashed. Another young rider, Edvald Boasson Hagen, 21, won riding for Columbia Highroad.
Haussler was edged out by Columbia Highroad’s Cavendish at Milan-San Remo in a photo finish. Hushovd nabbed the final podium spot. Expect fierce finish line competition between young lions Haussler and Cavendish, 23, down the road.
Haussler credits his success this year in part to remaining in Europe to train in the offseason rather than returning to Australia to be with family.
But his roots down under are so strong that he will ride for Australia at the 2010 World Championship in Melbourne.
No matter which country’s flag he bears, don’t be surprised to see him on the podium.