Heinrich Haussler, who gave up German citizenship in 2010 to ride for Australia, the country of his birth, is its new national road champion – and says it is “the best day of my life.”
The 30-year-old IAM Cycling rider outsprinted Orica-GreenEdge’s Caleb Ewan at the end of the 182km race at Buninyong, with Neil van der Ploeg of Avanti Racing third.
Haussler had rejoined a small front group with three of the 18 laps remaining, and beat Ewan, 10 years his junior and tipped for stardom, despite his chain coming off in the sprint.
“To be honest I still can’t believe it, it’s seriously the best day of my life,” he said afterwards, reports the Cycling Australia website.
“It means everything. To start the season off like this and to have the jersey now, it just puts you on a different level," Haussler went on.
“It was just a tough sprint and the lactic acid was just coming out of my ears in that last one hundred metres.
“Thank god the line came and I got there first, I just couldn’t believe it,” he added.
The women’s event went to Peta Mullens of Victoria Victoria’s Peta Mullens, her seventh national title in cycling – road, track and MTB – and mountain running.
The 26-year-old said afterwards: “Of all the national titles [I’ve won], I’m a Mountain Biker, I would still prefer to win this.
“It is by far the most prestigious and hardest to win and especially with the depth that we have in women cycling.
“It’s a bit ironic because it is supposed to be my only road race for the year and now that I have won the stripes, I might have to change my plans,” she added.
On Thursday, Team Sky’s Richie Porte became men’s national time trial champion, with Rabo-Liv’s Shara Gillow taking the women’s title for the fourth time in five years.
SASI’s Miles Scotson wonthe men’s under-23 time trial, and doubled up today by clinching the green and gold jersey in the road race jersey.
Porte, aged 29, beat BMC Racing’s Rohan Dennis into second place by just 7 seconds, with Budget Forklifts’ Jack Bobridge third.
“I’m thrilled to bits to win and what a great podium we’ve got. To win this time trial in such a class field is fantastic,” said the Sky rider.
Here are the video highlights of the time trials.
Born in Scotland, Simon moved to London aged seven and now lives in the Oxfordshire Cotswolds with his miniature schnauzer, Elodie. He fell in love with cycling one Saturday morning in 1994 while living in Italy when Milan-San Remo went past his front door. A daily cycle commuter in London back before riding to work started to boom, he's been news editor at road.cc since 2009. Handily for work, he speaks French and Italian. He doesn't get to ride his Colnago as often as he'd like, and freely admits he's much more adept at cooking than fettling with bikes.