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German/Australian professional cyclist runs off the road

Heinrich Haussler of Cervélo TestTeam was involved in a car accident near his home in Germany on Saturday night. There were no injuries reported but both his and another car sustained considerable damage.

Haussler had been racing at the Amgen Tour of California this past week but returned home Thursday to have his knee checked at the Crossklinik in Basel as a precaution after two crashes during that race.

He has suffered a catalogue of knee problems which kept him out of the 2010 Spring Classics and the California Tour was supposed to be his big come back.

The car accident occurred as Haussler made his way home after a party in Freiburg on Saturday night. The police took him in for questioning and tests concluded that his blood-alcohol level was over the legal limit.

"I want to apologize to my teammates and the entire Cervélo TestTeam and in particular to our fans and partners," said Haussler. "I was extremely disappointed about my early return from the Tour of California because of my knee problems and needed a diversion. That said, there is no excuse for my behaviour. It was irresponsible and unprofessional and I deeply regret my actions."

A statement on the team website is taking a stern view, "Cervélo TestTeam does not condone his behaviour and has full confidence in the German authorities to take the appropriate action. At the same time, the team will work with Heinrich to make sure he understands the consequences of his actions and the appropriate behaviour required of him in the future."

The 26-year-old Haussler who we interviewed last August was born in Australia but has lived in Germany since age 14 where he wanted to move to be a professional cyclist. He is one of the more colourful characters on the circuit - nickname 'Barbie' - with a number of goods wins to his credit most notably last year's 13th stage of the Tour de France. He is the rider Mark Cavendish beat by the thickness of his tyre tread to win the 2009 Milan-San Remo race.