Heinrich Haussler: A fall Paris-Roubaix and Tour of Flanders makes no sense

Australian underwent double surgery this week and will miss Sunday's Paris-Roubaix.

Photo: Bernard Papon - Pool/Getty Images

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Heinrich Haussler (Bahrain Victorious) has raised doubts over the notion that the UCI and race organizers could move the Tour of Flanders and Paris-Roubaix to the fall.

The idea was first tabled by UCI president David Lappartient in an interview with Wielerflits on Thursday with the Frenchman stating that the governing body and ASO – which runs Paris-Roubaix – were open to the idea of rescheduling two of the biggest one-day races in the calendar.

Paris-Roubaix did take place in the fall during the 2021 season due to a postponement caused by the COVID-19 pandemic but it has since returned to its spring slot – albeit a week later than usual due to the French presidential elections forcing a date change.

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Haussler, a veteran of a combined 28 starts at Paris-Roubaix and the Tour of Flanders has voiced his reservations when it comes to moving both races permanently to the second half of the year.

“To be honest I don’t really know why they would want to change it,” he told VeloNews on Friday morning from his home in Germany.

“Maybe they are looking for some spectacular weather with the cold conditions. I have no idea. The race calendar is so packed until that point with so many races, I don’t even know where they would want to fit it in. Plus, it takes away that whole classics atmosphere, that whole build-up, from ‘opening weekend’, right through until Roubaix.

“It’s a big build-up, not just for riders but also in Belgium, in the newspapers. Then you’ve got all the other races like E3, De Panne, and Gent-Wevelgem all leading up to the hype around Flanders. Changing it makes no sense. It makes no sense, to be honest, but who knows what the idea is behind it.”

For Haussler, who raced throughout this spring until injury ruled him out of Paris-Roubaix, the notion of ending a reformatted spring with a race such as Gent-Wevelgem would dismantle the flow of the season and the pinnacle and emphasis that comes with racing “Holy Week” – the term used to coin the days stretching from the Tour of Flanders to Paris-Roubaix.

“It would just be strange ending the classics with Gent-Wevelgem or Harelbeke. All winter the classics riders are so focused on these races, it would just be really strange not to finish off that period with Flanders and Roubaix.”

Regardless of date changes at this point, Haussler will not race this Sunday. He underwent two operations this week with a metal plate removed from an old collarbone break and then a piece of tissue removed from his knee after a crash he sustained earlier in the spring.

He will be off the bike for the next few weeks but hopes to return to full strength soon enough.

“My wife has just picked me up from the hospital just now. I had an operation on my knee and they also took out a metal plate in my shoulder, which had been there for ages,” he said.

“I crashed before Flanders and hurt my knee pretty badly. They had to go in and take out a piece of tissue that was under the kneecap. It means I’ll be out for a while now but I should be back on the bike in a few weeks. It should all be good.”

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