Hansen aiming to join exclusive list of riders to finish all three Grand Tours in one season
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Thursday, August 16, 2012

Hansen aiming to join exclusive list of riders to finish all three Grand Tours in one season

by Shane Stokes at 10:04 AM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Vuelta a España
 
Australian also hungry for first-ever stage win in three week race

Adam HansenAlthough he started his season back in January and has ridden well over 11,000 kilometres in competition, Adam Hansen has decided to try to complete all three Grand Tours in a single season.

Placing 94th in the Giro and 81st in the Tour de France, the Australian will aim to become part of a very select group to finish the Giro d’Italia, Tour de France and Vuelta a España. The feat is a formidable test of endurance, recovery and determination and has been completed before by just over 30 riders.

Of those Spanish competitors have the best history: Marino Lejarreta holds the record in achieving the feat four times; Bernardo Ruiz and Eduardo Chozas have done it three times, while Carlos Sastre has done it twice.

“Riding the three Grand Tours is indeed something special, something I wanted to do, a goal in itself,” said the Lotto Belisol rider. “At the beginning of the year I had in any case the intention to ride the Giro and Tour and it turned out better than expected. Until now I have had a good season and I don’t feel tired yet, so why not?

“You have to recuperate well, prefer qualitative trainings above quantitative ones and don’t ride too many races in between the Grand Tours. Also the head has to be clear.”

When the race begins on Saturday with a team time trial in Pamplona, another rider will also be starting the triple. However there is a notable difference; Amets Txurukka of Euskaltel pulled out of the Tour de France on stage six, making his possible achievement to start three and finish two.

Hansen will have helpful encouragement during the race as one of those who have finished all three is his Lotto Belisol directeur sportif. In 2007 he became the only Belgian to finish all three, and is proud of the feat.

“Only during the Vuelta it became a topic, before no-one had pointed me to it. I was told that I was the 25th who succeeded in it and the first Belgian,” he said. “I like it that such a thing doesn’t happen every year. During the winter I had said I wanted to do that sometime, because I knew I never was worn out after a Grand Tour. And rather than riding the one day stages in the autumn, I went to Spain.”

“With all the other races that Adam Hansen is taking on this year, he’s looking for the extreme, but he doesn’t have a big problem with being on the way all the time. Physically, riding the three Grand Tours in a row is possible, if you take enough rest in between. Because the first weeks after a Grand Tour your body is worn out.”

However Hansen isn’t just riding to get around; he has team responsibilities and also personal goals that he wants to achieve there. He’s motivated and ready to dig deep.

“In the Vuelta Jurgen Van den Broeck is our leader. One of my tasks will be to assist him. We have met each other in the Vuelta of last year and that turned out well,” he said. “Also in the past Tour he has appreciated my work.

“I hope to take a chance in certain stages, but a lot of riders have that ambition. Because of the many tough stages the teams of the favourites might much easier let a small group ride away that can battle for the victory.”

Hansen is yet to achieve a stage win in a Grand Tour; fifth on stage ten of the 2009 Vuelta is as close as he has gone. If he manages to pull it off this time round, his achievement and his satisfaction will be all the more pronounced by doing so in his third Grand Tour of the year.

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