Haussler wins as rain dulls jersey battle
COLMAR: Australian-born German Heinrich Haussler claimed his maiden stage win on the Tour de France on Friday as rainy conditions put a dampener on an anticipated battle for the yellow jersey.
Haussler was part of an early breakaway on the 200km stage from Vittel to Colmar in the hilly Vosges region before he went off on his own to forge a memorable victory. After coming over the summit of the category one-rated Col du Platzerwasel in the company of Sylvain Chavanel the Cervelo team rider attacked on his own to quickly open up a gap on the Frenchman.
Chavanel battled in vain on the Col du Bannstein, but the gap grew and grew as Haussler’s steady rhythm took him up and over the 2.1km hill and then over the 8.7km long Col du Firstplan. Spaniard Amets Txurruka of the Euskaltel team was second, at just over four minutes behind while Frenchman Brice Feillu of Agritubel was at 6:13.
The peloton with all the main favourites, and current yellow jersey wearer Rinaldo Nocentini, arrived 6min 43sec behind Haussler after he came over the finish line in triumph.
Nocentini, who has now spent a week in the race lead, still has a 6- and 8-second lead on Astana’s Alberto Contador and Lance Armstrong.