Hardman Adam Hansen speaks about his aims starting his seventh consecutive Grand Tour
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Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Hardman Adam Hansen speaks about his aims starting his seventh consecutive Grand Tour

by VeloNation Press at 7:25 AM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Vuelta a España
 
Australian wants to pick up a stage win somewhere between start in Galicia and finale in Madrid

Adam HansenAlready a stage winner in the Giro d’Italia this year, Adam Hansen sets out in what is his seventh Grand Tour in a row with a clear aim for the Vuelta a España.

“I’d very much like to win a stage in the Vuelta. I’m definitely going to have a go for it, that’s for sure,” he said today. “Hopefully I’m in a breakaway that makes it to the finish, so I can have a chance. In any case my condition is really good.”

Hansen joined a rare breed of rider last season when he completed all three Grand Tours in the same season. Less than forty riders in the history of cycling have pulled off the feat; he’s now aiming to be part of a smaller group again to achieve the feat in two consecutive seasons.

The Lotto Belisol rider’s consistency and determination is remarkable: he’s finished the 2011 Vuelta a España. The 2012 Giro d’Italia. The 2012 Tour de France. The 2012 Vuelta a España. The 2013 Giro d’Italia. The 2013 Tour de France. Now he’s about to embark on his seventh successive Grand Tour.

Is he intimidated? Not exactly.

“I think it was more of a challenge last year, as it was the first time,” he said. “This year I’m a lot more relaxed going into the third Grand Tour of the season. I’m very confident that I’ll do well and I’m really satisfied with my training and the rest period I’ve had so far.

“Last year I was a bit unsure about my form, this year I feel much better because I did take more rest. This season there’s one week more between Vuelta and Tour, that really helps to recover. After the Tour I stayed a whole week off the bike. The following week I did some easy rides and the third week I did a two day programme, which I repeated several times.

“I began with a very short and extremely hard session of between two and three hours and the second day a long ride of between six and seven hours. The third day was a rest day. I’ve done a lot harder training than last year before the Vuelta. But I feel I don’t need to train so much, because I’ve done so much racing.”

Hansen has been a valued part of Andre Greipel’s sprint train and also helped others on the team. He’s not very comfortable in the limelight, but edged forward in May when he soloed to a brilliant stage win in Pescara, holding off a hard-chasing main bunch.

Getting, and grasping a chance for personal success has given him more personal ambition. He sees the attraction in trying to pick up a stage win along the way, but still gets a lot of satisfaction from soldiering through a number of three week races.

“I think it’s nice that if all goes well I will have completed seven Grand Tours in a row. It’s pretty incredible when you think about it, and it does make me proud,” he said.

“I like to see how many I can do, I’m very happy Lotto Belisol enables me to have this kind of race programme. You need a team that supports you and that’s what my team does. I like doing block racing, so that’s why I like riding the three Grand Tours. In the end you have less travel days and are more at home. I like to train very specifically and having a longer rest period gives me that opportunity.

“Other benefits are of course that you get free food, free rent, free laundry; you get taken care of,” he laughs. “In that sense it’s very relaxing too.”

Having done each of the races more than once, he’s in a position to identify the similarities and also the unique characteristics of each.

“The Vuelta is getting harder every year, but I enjoy the hard racing so in that way it suits me well,” he said. “But a Grand Tour is a Grand Tour and therefore they are tough. All three are different and I like them all. For me the Giro is more sentimental, the Tour is more ‘get down to business’ and more serious and the Vuelta is probably the most enjoyable and relaxing for me. You’re a bit more free in the Vuelta and you don’t have so much pressure as in the Tour, in a sense you’re more yourself.”

Hansen explains that when he did his first Grand Tour, he thought then that it would be a nice goal to try to do them all in one year. He said that it was last year when he got the chance, having finished both the Giro d’Italia and the Tour de France. He saw the possibility, and put it to the team.

They didn’t take him seriously at first. “I asked if I could do the Vuelta and some of the sports directors laughed at me, thought I was joking,” he remembered. But he was serious, and got the green light.

Now, embarking on his seventh in a row, he doesn’t want to stop. “If I have the chance, I’d like to continue to do this,” he said.

It’s a remarkable approach to the sport, and underlines just how tough he is.

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