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Last year’s runner-up Heinrich Haussler and experienced German rider Andreas Klier will not race this weekend’s Tour of Flanders.
Haussler said a nagging knee injury will keep him out of Flanders while Klier is sidelined following a nasty crash Saturday in E3 Prijs Vlaanderen that left him with a concussion.
It’s a major blow to the Cervélo TestTeam, which roared through the spring classics last year and is a disappointing setback for both Haussler and Klier, two riders who dream of major success in Flanders.
“I’m really disappointed that I haven’t been able to fully recover yet and have to skip my favorite spring classics. I love the cobbled races, but my health is the priority,” Haussler said Tuesday. “The spring classics were supposed to be my first goals in the 2010 cycling season. Now my focus on the sporting side will turn to the 2010 Tour de France, where I would like to be in top shape.”
Klier, who is one of the most experienced riders for the classics, will also miss Paris-Roubaix.
“The spring classics are my favorite races. I have had my best results there, but this year the Ronde van Vlaanderen and Paris-Roubaix will take place without me,” he said. “I’m certainly a bit disappointed, but my health is the focus and I will now concentrate on my other goals.”
Cervélo team doctor Thomas Klimaschka said both riders simply need time to recover from their respective injuries.
“Heinrich has an injury of the quadriceps tendon and is currently receiving intensive medical treatments, mainly physiotherapy. The focus is on his health. Heinrich needs some more time to recover 100%; therefore, he will not be at the start of the 2010 spring classics,” he said. “We checked Andreas and treated him after the accident. He will be able to leave our team base Hotel Lepelbed as soon as possible and will go home to rest and recover completely.”
Without Klier and Haussler, Thor Hushovd will start as the team’s sole leader at both Flanders and Roubaix. The absence of the two big-name riders should open the door for Canadian Dominique Rollin to start both races.