The "Heinrich Haussler is not too old to deserve a thread" thread

Alright, this may be controversial. It's certainly not usual to open a thread for a 36-year-old. But I'm doing it anyway.

Back in the day (2009), Heinrich Haussler was probably my favourite rider, and he had a magnificent spring, featuring prominently in all three flat monuments. In Milan-Sanremo, he was beaten to second by Cavendish in THAT sprint, in Flanders he stole a second place by going solo behind the solo winner, Stijn Devolder, and in Roubaix he was first out of the Arenberg Forest but eventually he faded to a 6th place.

Later that year, he won an epic stage win in the Tour with more than four minutes to second place (biggest winning margin of a Grand Tour stage in this century, as far as I know (edit: maybe fifth or sixth biggest)) in apocalyptic weather in the Vosges - the day Lance Armstrong mentioned as the most unpleasant in his career.

The world lay open for his feet but injuries put a damper on his level, and he never managed to return to that magical 2009 form, though he still obtained a top 10 placing more in each of his three monuments over the years.

So why open a thread now, you might ask? Well, first off, it's a calamity that he doesn't already have one, but second, what I saw in the opening weekend reminded me of the old Haussler. In Omloop he was riding very prominently, albeit not very smartly, but throughout the race he seemed to be one of the very strongest riders. In Kuurne, he had a crash, but was still riding at the pointy end when the going got tough.

It seems like he has finally managed to somehow overcome the injury freak show that has marred him throughout a decade, and he even confirmed post-Omloop that he hadn't had those legs since that almost glorious spring 11 years ago.

During this winter, he debuted as a cross rider and featured (very far from the pointy end) in a few of the biggest racers on the cross calendar. It seems like that (or whatever else) has helped him to reach a level I didn't dare hope to see from him again.

And that leads me to my question:

Could the man who never wears gloves pull a Hayman?
 
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He's looking the best he has for a while now and I'd love Haussler to have another great spring or two, but the reality is that he hasn't quite been the same since Cav's demo job at the 2010 TDS
This. Haussler has always been a fav of mine, and I feel like during that crash we've been robbed of a great great rider. Who knows what happens not only in someone's body but also in his mind.
 
I had to check because I can't stay with the doubt, other than Kiryienka that I cited before with a bigger margin on the second there is Virenque in Saint Fleur at the 2004 Tour (5'19''), Sella on the Alpe di Pampeago at the 2008 Giro (4'38'') and again Kiryienka on Sestriere at the 2011 Giro (4'43'').

Honorable mention for Landis that in Morzine at the 2006 Tour won with 5'42'' before being stripped.
 
I had to check because I can't stay with the doubt, other than Kiryienka that I cited before with a bigger margin on the second there is Virenque in Saint Fleur at the 2004 Tour (5'19''), Sella on the Alpe di Pampeago at the 2008 Giro (4'38'') and again Kiryienka on Sestriere at the 2011 Giro (4'43'').

Honorable mention for Landis that in Morzine at the 2006 Tour won with 5'42'' before being stripped.
Damn xD

Am I at least correct in assuming that Cavagna with more than 7 minutes has the biggest winning margin in a WorldTour race from last year's California?
 
The great thing about Paris-Roubaix is that riders like Hayman can win. So for sure Haussler can pull a Hayman. Although frankly, it would be much less of a surprise, given, as the op lays out so beautifully, how much class he has shown in cobbled classics before, and his palmares.

Couldn't see him winning Flanders though.
 
Damn xD

Am I at least correct in assuming that Cavagna with more than 7 minutes has the biggest winning margin in a WorldTour race from last year's California?
That needs a way bigger check to be sure, we can exclude GTs and monuments, probably also every other one day race but I don't have any idea if there is a stage in some weeklong races. The biggest margin that comes to my mind without checking is when Gilbert won a stage of the 2006 Dauphine with over 5 minutes but I've watched maybe a third of the weeklong stage races since WT inception.
 
The great thing about Paris-Roubaix is that riders like Hayman can win. So for sure Haussler can pull a Hayman. Although frankly, it would be much less of a surprise, given, as the op lays out so beautifully, how much class he has shown in cobbled classics before, and his palmares.
definitely, Haussler is stronger than Hayman, he doesn't need to join the early breakaway to win Roubaix, like Hayman did.

Even last year, when he didn't show much over the weeks before, he was super strong in Roubaix, and felt like he could win it - but had plenty of mechanicals

View: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dYPtnUBvUkQ

(I love the "my legs were feeling so great, all I had to do was steering" quote btw :D )

Problem is, if this is due to Merida not being competitive on the heavy cobbles, he could face the same problems again
 
definitely, Haussler is stronger than Hayman, he doesn't need to join the early breakaway to win Roubaix, like Hayman did.

Even last year, when he didn't show much over the weeks before, he was super strong in Roubaix, and felt like he could win it - but had plenty of mechanicals

View: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dYPtnUBvUkQ

(I love the "my legs were feeling so great, all I had to do was steering" quote btw :D )

Problem is, if this is due to Merida not being competitive on the heavy cobbles, he could face the same problems again
Their team isn't that bad for the cobbles, Haussler, Cortina, Haller (an underrated classics sprinter), Sieberg and Colbrelli (ok, not a Roubaix guy, but still good, if in shape), so they could try something.
 
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definitely, Haussler is stronger than Hayman, he doesn't need to join the early breakaway to win Roubaix, like Hayman did.
Hayman's win is underrated because he was a dedicated domestique at Roubaix for genuine contenders on bigger teams (Rabobank, Sky - and still had top 10 finishes) until he went to Greenedge at 34. Meanwhile Haussler was a leader for Cervelo at 25.

Opportunity also has its part.
 
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Which Morton ? Thought Mortons' issue was they prepared as professionals in terms of training and preparation from the age of 15, so they had less scope for improvement.
Lachlan. His issue is that he doesn't enjoy road racing and structured training, he just loves to ride his bike everyday and being a pro is the only way he can sustain that.
 
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Hayman's win is underrated because he was a dedicated domestique at Roubaix for genuine contenders on bigger teams (Rabobank, Sky - and still had top 10 finishes) until he went to Greenedge at 34. Meanwhile Haussler was a leader for Cervelo at 25.
for sure, I didn't mean to devalue Hayman's victory, everyone who wins Roubaix definitely deserves to do so.
 
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Their team isn't that bad for the cobbles, Haussler, Cortina, Haller (an underrated classics sprinter), Sieberg and Colbrelli (ok, not a Roubaix guy, but still good, if in shape), so they could try something.
That's a good enough team to take advantage of the right situations, that's for sure. A 2009 form Haussler has a real chance against all but WvA and MVDP IMHO. Of course he needs to capture that form again.

I remember Haussler and a few others hanging on to WvA during "that" chase last year and Haussler being the only one who looked remotely comfortable.
 

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