Hansen upbeat after seventh consecutive Grand Tour, but had hoped to achieve more in Vuelta
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Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Hansen upbeat after seventh consecutive Grand Tour, but had hoped to achieve more in Vuelta

by Shane Stokes at 1:59 PM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Interviews, Vuelta a España, Video
Video: “I think mentally the Grand Tours are very easy”

Adam HansenNinety two race days and over fourteen thousand kilometres covered, yet still not worn out. Having successfully finished the three Grand Tours in both 2012 and again this year, Australian hardman Adam Hansen has said that his body has adapted well to the effort and that he has energy in reserve after completing the Vuelta a España.

The Lotto Belisol rider finished the Spanish event on Sunday, helping his Lotto Belisol team during the event, taking third on a stage and finishing a solid sixtieth overall.

Given the amount of saddle time he has clocked up, he’d be forgiven for ending his season at this point and taking a long break.

Instead, he’ll keep going for a while longer. Hansen has just two full days at home after the Spanish event, then heads off to begin his preparation with his Lotto Belisol squad for the team time trial at the world championships.

After that, he’ll continue on and ride the Tour of Beijing.

“I feel much better this year then last year,” he told VeloNation, speaking at the end of what was his seventh consecutive Grand Tour [he also rode the 2011 Vuelta]. “From memory last year I was struggling a little. This year I feel like much better and was more active in the race.”

In fact, from simply fighting last year to complete his third Grand Tour of the season, he said that he felt snappier this time round – and thus more ambitious.

Hansen’s best placing was on stage 18 when he was involved in the day’s big break and finished third at the summit finish of Peña Cabarga. That plus his sixtieth place were fine results, but he admits he would have preferred to have done better again.

“Last year I was happy to finish. This year I'm a little disappointed I did not do more,” he explained.

Then again, Hansen has reason to be more ambitious. In May he took the first Grand Tour stage win of his career, holding off a hard chasing bunch when he soloed to a brilliant win in the rain in Pescara.

For a rider who has spent most of his career in the service of others, it was a very rewarding moment. He admitted at the time that it was also an alien feeling, with Hansen appearing a little uncomfortable in the spotlight.

Still, the taste of success prompted him to try again in the Vuelta. It didn’t quite pay off at Peña Cabarga, but he’ll try to clock up another stage win in the future.

When asked what was his best moment out of his 2013 treble, it’s little surprise which one he highlights. “The Giro stage win, for sure,” he said. “Then Andre's win [Andre Greipel’s success on stage six of the Tour de France – ed.]. We rode well together in the Tour, we just had some bad luck. But finishing each one is always nice.”

As for the toughest aspect, he outlines the conditions as the biggest concern. “The most difficult parts were the weather this year,” he stated, pointing to the cold and wet. “The Giro was tough, real tough and of course so too the bad weather stage we had in the Vuelta.”

Having done the treble twice, Hansen told VeloNation that he’d like to aim for the same races – and thus his tenth consecutive Grand Tour – next season. His Lotto Belisol squad seems happy for him to ride each of the events, knowing that he will give his all for the team when required rather than conserving energy to get through each of the races.

Grand Tours ‘a bit more relaxing’ than everyday life:

In a video interview conducted earlier this year, Hansen explained his unique attitude to riding three week races. While many riders get wound up by the thoughts of flogging themselves day in, day out, Hansen sees things differently.

“I find the Grand Tours a bit more relaxing,” he said, somewhat surprisingly. It’s a curious statement, yet he believes the bubble of a big event is a straightforward existence.

“You go away, and as soon as you go away everything is set. If you have got a lot of things happening at home, as soon as you leave for a race, the only thing you have to do is wake up, go to a bike race, do it, then go back to the hotel,” he said.

“So I think mentally the Grand Tours are very easy. You go there, you do it, and when you finish it you have 21 race days done. I do have a lot of rest and recovery between them, and I do base my training around it. So I don’t find it so difficult.”

Hansen spoke on camera at the Presidential Tour of Turkey and said then that there was something in his makeup that liked the extreme demands of getting through such goals.

‘I like stuff like that,” he told VeloNation, referring to big physical challenges. “To win in the sprints you have to have a lot of talent sprinting. To win in the mountains, you have got to be a climber. There’s a whole bunch of cyclists here who have those attributes.

“For me, it’s always been the long endurance sports that I’ve always enjoyed. I’ve always wanted to do an Ironman. I hope to do Hawaii one day.”

Hansen is one of the most important riders in the sprint train for Lotto Belisol, and has helped Andre Greipel to many of his victories. The two get on well, and he reveals that the tough exterior of Greipel does not give a true impression of what he is like.

“He is very quiet. He is a nice guy,” he said. “Everyone thinks he is big and aggressive, but he is just a big soft teddy bear.”


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