Sierre - A look of relief spread across German Heinrich Haussler's face when he sprinted to victory in stage two of the Tour of Switzerland on Sunday.
After beating Spain's Pablo Urtasun and Italian Marco Marcato in a 66-rider bunch sprint, at Sierre, the Cervelo rider described the win as a "liberation, a real release".
"This season's been a disaster up to now," Haussler told reporters.
"I had a knee injury early in the season which wrecked my Classics, then another crash in the Tour of California (in May) and I had to drop out there."
"Winning today was something I needed badly for my morale and motivation."
Seven-times Tour de France winner Lance Armstrong finished 46th on the stage in the main pack.
The American said on his Twitter feed he felt: "Okay, not great nor terrible.
"It was nasty weather over the Simplon (pass), a fast downhill and an aggressive final."
Despite the tough, wet conditions and over 40km of climbing, Switzerland's Fabian Cancellara held on to the overall lead, one second ahead of Czech Roman Kreuziger with Germany's Tony Martin in third.
"After winning the opening time trial, my second goal for this race was to be wearing the leader's jersey for the stage to Schwarzenburg, in my home region, tomorrow, and now that'll happen, so I'm satisfied with that," Cancellara said.
But the Olympic and world time trial Champion all but ruled out winning the race for a second year running.
"The opposition is much stronger than in 2009, and I think it will be much harder to do that.
"For now I'm just content to have spent another day in the lead," he said.
Haussler, born in Australia to a German father and Australian mother, said provisional plans to switch nationality had been put on hold after his difficult early season.
"I just wanted to concentrate on racing, and I won't be thinking about that again until after the Tour de France."
Asked whether he was supporting Germany or Australia in Sunday's World Cup soccer match, the 26-year-old smiled and said: "That's a difficult one, but I'll probably go for Australia."
The Tour of Suisse finishes on Sunday June 20 with an individual time trial in Liestal.