Australia will have a new national champion in 2016 after Heinrich Haussler announced he would skip the January 11 race in order to focus on the European spring Classics.
Haussler, 31, beat young Orica-GreenEdge sprinter Caleb Ewan to the line in Buninyong before claiming three top-10s in the Tour Down Under and 10th place in the Cadel Evans Road Race.
But this winter the IAM Cycling rider will remain in Europe in order to prepare for the Classics, with his best finish in 2015 coming at the Tour of Flanders, where he crossed the line 26th.
"I love this [national champion's] jersey but for 2016 I just can't fit defending my title into my program because I really want to concentrate on the Classics, but I will be back in 2017," said Haussler in a statement from Cycling Australia.
Adding: "I'll never forget that day and riding in the Aussie colours in 2015 is also something I'll never forget. Every training ride I did this year, when I went to put on the Aussie champion kit, it was really a special feeling."
Haussler's nationals win proved to be his only victory in 2015, notching up another 12 top-10 finishes in 71 racing days for IAM. He will return to Milan-San Remo in March, looking to match or better his second-place finish of 2009 - the year he also finished second in Flanders and sixth at Paris-Roubaix.
Thank you for reading 5 articles this month* Join now for unlimited access
Enjoy your first month for just £1 / $1 / €1
*Read 5 free articles per month without a subscription
Join now for unlimited access
Try first month for just £1 / $1 / €1
Stuart Clarke is a News Associates trained journalist who has worked for the likes of the British Olympic Associate, British Rowing and the England and Wales Cricket Board, and of course Cycling Weekly. His work at Cycling Weekly has focused upon professional racing, following the World Tour races and its characters.
Sperm: the real inventors of the drafting technique?
Scientists show that sperm adopt peloton-like behavior for less resistance in adverse conditions
By Anne-Marije Rook • Published
Legend's 69-year RRA record falls as super-commuter Lee Williams sets new Pembroke-London mark
Welshman's rides to work serve him well as he takes four minutes off Ken Joy's 1953 place to place record
By James Shrubsall • Published
Jérôme Coppel wins Etoile de Bessèges after final time trial victory
IAM Cycling rider Jérôme Coppel takes the victory in France's first major stage race of the 2016 season, Etoile de Bessèges
By Nigel Wynn • Published
The 2015 cycling season in review: January
After what seemed like the longest off-season in history (each winter does), cycling returned with a vengeance in January, with some great racing to get our year started
By Stuart Clarke • Published
Crashes won't derail IAM Cycling at Tour of Qatar
IAM Cycling sprinter Heinrich Haussler says he's fit and ready for stage five, despite hitting the tarmac on stage four of the Tour of Qatar
By Stuart Clarke • Published