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VALDOBBIADENE, IT (VN) – Adam Hansen rode his first grand tour on the 2007 Giro d’Italia. Fittingly sufficient, 28 grand excursions and 17 years later, the 2020 Giro d’Italia may even be the Australian’s final three-week race.
Hansen, 39, might be calling time on a profession dominated by lengthy spells with Staff HTC Colombia and his present staff, Lotto-Soudal, on the finish of this season. That’s to not say he’s transferring away from the bike altogether, because the ever-restless veteran might be turning his energies to life as an Ironman triathlete in 2021.
“Going into Ironman was all the time at the back of my thoughts, and as I’m getting older I believed I ought to do it sooner quite than later,” Hansen instructed VeloNews forward of the Giro’s second time trial Saturday. “But additionally with biking, with race organizers, groups, the UCI, it’s a little bit of a large number with the politics, I’m sort of executed with it now.”
As one of the crucial forward-thinking and inquisitive riders within the peloton, it felt inevitable that Hansen would launch into a complete new challenge when he stepped away from the WorldTour. Having made his Ironman debut at Florida final yr, ending in 9:05, subsequent yr might be his first as a full-time triathlete.
Hansen’s aspect initiatives embody designing digital lacing programs for sneakers, 3D printing surgical face masks, and consistently tweaking his bike place. Thus, the independence and skill to innovate inside the triathlon scene was a key promoting level for Hansen when he determined to change sports activities.
“I’m simply wanting ahead to doing my very own factor, being impartial, selecting my gear and setup with out having to debate with anybody. With the ability to set my food regimen with out justifying it or having somebody attempting to vary one thing,” he mentioned.
“I’ll get extra racing this manner too. In biking, you’re racing however doing a job; serving to lead a sprinter or taking care of the GC man, whereas Ironman is extra depending on you and your outcomes. This might be a sport depending on you and your personal outcomes. And yeah, I actually imagine I can do effectively in it.”
This yr’s Giro, with its cloud of COVID-19 and horrible climate, might be Hansen’s thirteenth lap of Italy, a lot of which had been accomplished in his document run of 20-consecutive three-week races. Regardless of the unprecedented state of affairs at this Giro, Hansen continues to relish the using.
“I don’t really feel unhappy that is my final one. Really, I’m having fun with it so much,” Hansen mentioned. “Okay, we’ve had some fairly unhealthy climate and this complete COVID state of affairs hasn’t been so nice. It’s not been a standard Giro, however I really feel the perfect Giros are those I’ve already executed. I’ve positively executed sufficient grand excursions now to be on the level to not miss them.”
Racing in October quite than Could, and sporting face masks quite than sunscreen at staff displays, has made this yr’s Giro a novel expertise that has helped Hansen divorce himself from any sentiment.
“This doesn’t actually really feel like a Giro,” he mentioned. “The Giro is generally identified to be extra of a pleasant heat summer season race that will get a little bit of chilly climate if you hit the mountains, however right here it’s been a bit extra such as you’re completely satisfied if you see a sunny day. And regardless that it’s been sunny, it’s been cool, and when it rains it’s freezing.”
Hansen’s first three grand excursions had been gained by Danilo di Luca, Dennis Menchov and Alberto Contador. It’s secure to say so much has modified since then as riders get youthful, ways change, and race-winning methods evolve.
“The entire discipline is much more aggressive now, which makes issues so much more durable. The decrease and center fields are so much higher,” Hansen mentioned. “And the ways positively modified dramatically. Like yesterday (stage 13, gained by Diego Ulissi) was what you would say was virtually a traditional dash stage aside from the ultimate, and the bunch gave them a most of two and a half minutes.
“I bear in mind again within the day, you’d give them quarter-hour, and it’d be actually like ‘will we catch them or not?’ It was a bit extra thrilling on TV, the place now they simply maintain it at two minutes, and I don’t know why it’s like that. If I used to be in that first break yesterday I’d have simply stopped using as you already know there’s no likelihood.”
Although Hansen largely acted as a highway captain and leadout man, he additionally took stage wins on the Giro and the Vuelta a España. Nonetheless, his standout moments had been throughout his time as a key cog of André Greipel’s unstoppable Lotto-Soudal dash unit by way of the center of the final decade.
“My finest recollections from grand excursions had been with André and the blokes for certain,” Hansen mentioned.
“The staff was simply so well-established and the staff was all picked very selectively; all of us had our personal jobs and all of us knew what to do. No rider was higher than the opposite on the different individual’s job. With Greg Hendersen, Jürgen Roelandts, we labored so effectively collectively, we had been unstoppable. It was very nice from a staff’s standpoint the place we actually nailed it. You don’t see such particular leadouts anymore, it’s like a misplaced artwork.”
Whereas Hansen described a frozen stage by way of Andorra within the 2013 Vuelta as “one in all his worst moments” and is eager to maneuver away from the regulation and restriction of WorldTour life, he might not be solely executed with professional biking simply but.
“I’ve really had just a few provides from completely different groups the place I may do half biking, half Ironman, in order that’s one thing I’ve to actually contemplate if I actually need to go down that route or not,” he mentioned.
With such a hybrid mannequin at present efficiently operated by Cameron Wurf at Ineos Grenadiers, there’s nonetheless some likelihood you’ll be seeing Adam Hansen at a motorbike race in 2021.
However don’t be shocked if he pulls on his trainers straight after.