A former winner of the Tour of Beijing, Marco Haller has seen his progress stall in the last few years. After a 2014 season with lots of ups and downs, the Austrian hopes to have learned from his mistakes in 2015.
Even though he finished third in a stage of the Tour de Langkawi (Cat. 2.HC), the start of the season was very bad for Marco Haller Katusha. "It really seemed like I was slipping into a downward spiral," the Austrian told radsport-news.com.
The main problem was that Haller who had not gained his momentum in the Tour Down Under and the Tour of Qatar, caugh a biral infection in Malaysia.
"I wanted to work on my condition in good weather. Then it was definitely not very helpful that I had to spend ten days in bed and had to take antibiotics, sure was not very helpful," said the sprinter who saw all his hard work come to nothing.
"The time was ticking because my beloved classics were about the start," said Haller who after a good performance at the Three Days of De Panne hoped for a start at Paris-Roubaix. But then "the bubble burst" and Haller was not selected by his team for the classics.
Haller had lots of reasons to be optimistic again after the Tour of Norway where he was again part of Alexander Kristoff's sprint train.
With his riding style he impressed the team management so much that he was put on the long list for the Tour de France. At the Tour de Suisse, the last test for La Grand Boucle, Haller was in peak form even thoug he was unable to lead his captain to a stage victory.
Ultimately, the team management decided to omit Haller from the Tour roster and instead he did his home tour
"With three podium finishes, including winning the grand finale in Vienna, my performance was outstanding," said Haller about his appearance at the Tour of Austria.
Especially the mass sprint in front of the Burgtheater is a sweet memore for the Katusha rider.
"The last ten meters in Vienna were my absolute highlight of the season. That I could also end the stage win drought for Austrians in the race pleased me even more," said Haller who also delivered good performance in the second half of the season.
"But in hindsight, the trip to Canada was probably too much and my energy reserves were empty," Haller commented on his participation in the GP de Québec and GP de Montréal . And at the Worlds in Ponferrada, nothing worked anymore.
Haller ended his "turbulent season" Haller at the Tour de l'Eurométropole for which he was selected at a very short notice. He had to abandone the race in the Franco-Belgian area prematurely. "I have a cut in my wrist as a memory," Haller said about his crash in the season finale.
In 2015, Haller will face his fouth season with Katusha.
"It is again contract year for me and I hope I've learned from my mistakes so that I can do as well as possible. My clear goal is to do a good spring to prove what I am capable of. Anyway, I'm very motivated," he said.
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