Nagging knee problems will keep Heinrich Haussler out of the 2010 Tour de France.
Cervélo announced Friday that Haussler, a winner of a stage last year, will undergo surgery to repair knee damage dating back to a crash during the Volta ao Algarve in February. Taking his place will be British rider Daniel Lloyd.
“It is a pity that I cannot compete in the Tour de France this year. I am well aware that for a Tour you must to be 100 percent healthy. Though my season so far has not been under a good star, I will not give up. I hold my head high looking ahead to my next goals. I am young and will get my chance again,” Haussler said. “My focus is now on the recovery process and we will decide later when I can make my comeback. The health has first priority and I want to be 100% fit before I return on the start line.”
The 26-year-old rider has been plagued by knee problems since a crash in the Volta a Algarve this spring. Despite taking time for recovery, knee problems continued after crashes at Paris-Nice and most recently at the Tour de Suisse.
“Heinrich’s knee pain came back during the Tour de Suisse,” said Cervélo team doctor Andreas Goesele. “He did not finish that race in order to have some days off the bike. He felt better and everything seemed to be improving as he prepared for the Tour de France. But in the last few days the pain has come back again more intensely than before and so it was obvious to us, he could not race. Now we will operate and do arthroscopic surgery on him next week and after that he will start rehabilitation. We will then have to wait until after the operation before making any further statements regarding his plans for the remainder of the season.”
The news comes just as Tom Boonen revealed that he will not be able to race the Tour due to a nagging injury, meaning the Tour will be missing two of its biggest stage-hunters that were sure to move to the fore in the first week.