Adam Hansen, the Australian uber-domestique for Lotto-Belisol, kindly agreed to an email interview.
GreenEDGEFans: You originally started as a triathlete and also made a name for yourself as a mountain biker, what made you move into road cycling?
Adam Hansen: I was really serious as a triathlete at younger age. I came from a running background and my swim and cycling where not on par. I trained with some top swim coaches to improve my swim and then the next thing to improve was my cycling. I started doing cycling races to put me on a next level and had the chance to race for a team in Austria (Rapso). I thought this would be the perfect chance for me to make the next step to a higher level.
GEF – You originally raced with continental teams mostly in Austria. Your break into the pro-team came with signing with T-mobile. Is their anyone or any organisation that helped you reach the pro-team?
A.H – When I’m fit, healthy and have my weight under control I can do a pretty mad test on the ergo. I had the chance to do one with T-Mobile. They were very happy with the results and watched over me the following year. When the team did the new change there was a place free for me.
GEF – Most Australians hear of many Australian professional cyclists living in Monaco, Italy and Spain. You reside in the Czech Republic. Is there any reason why you reside in the Czech Republic?
A.H – When I reply I live in the Czech Republic I always get a baffled look towards me. I think it’s part of my character. I’m quiet and do my own thing. I like to see and experience the world in a different manner. Living there was something I wanted to try, so I went and did it, love it and never turned back. While I do believe in life after cycling I also run a few things on the side parallel with my cycling, Czech opens an amazing door of opportunity for a foreigner while being a great country to invest in.
GEF – After living in Europe, have you picked-up any European languages that you can speak well?
A.H – When I was living in Austria my German was pretty good, now it’s ok. Recently my Czech has improved dramatically. This is one language I would like to master.
GEF – How often do you return to Australia?
A.H – Not so often. I go back every year for the Nationals and touchdownU. I go a few weeks before to prepare for it and as the years go on, I go back later and later in the year. I’m really settled in Czech, have a home there and everything I have ever wanted. It’s actually hard for me to leave Czech at the end of the year to Australia, Christmas winters are just magical here in the Czech Republic.
GEF – You were Australian National Time Trial Champion in 2008 and have twice come second, third and fourth in the Australian Road Championships. How important for you would it be to win the Aussie championship?
A.H – Yeah, this is one thing I would really like to win. Apart from my did not finish in 2011, my fourth place this year is my worse result at Nationals. It would be a dream for me to win this race. Soon it might happen.
GEF – You were very helpful in getting Josh Prete a contract with a Czech team, could you outline what you did for Josh and why you helped a follow rider?
A.H – I know Cairns is not a country town, but for cycling it is. It’s hard to have a real chance coming from that region of Australia and turning Pro. It’s possible, I did it, but not easy. All the cycling institutes around the country are based pretty far away and it’s hard for them to notice guys from Cairns when they already have so many strong riders close to their base. I know for me, it was not easy.
Josh Prete is a great guy, polite, nice, head screwed on and talented, I believe he can make it given that the chance is within his reach. I arranged the contract between him and his team, arranged his visa, insurance, etc. Just trying to make it a tad easier for him.
GEF – You have become quite a sensation in the twitter world(@HansenAdam) and personally I have found your tweets very funny. Do you have a love-hate relationship with New Zealander Greg Henderson any reasons? Do you use twitter as a release from the pressures of racing, because you tend to tweet more when racing?
A.H – Greg Henderson’s a great, funny guy. We like to have fun and show the fans a little what happens outside of the sport. It’s all good. As for the non tweeting when I’m not at the races, that’s sort of my different life I have when I’m home in Czech. I keep that private life separate to my cycling life. If I’m doing something related to cycling, I don’t mind to tweet it, but you’re right, I do tend to tweet less when I’m home.
GEF – Do you personally see an increase in interest in cycling in Australia?
A.H – I have, and just by going to the touchdownU every year we see it grow and grow. It’s great to see. Even with Orica-GreenEDGE this year it’s great for the country.
GEF – Often there is a controversy in Australia regarding cyclists and fellow road users like car drivers. What do you see as the fundamental issue with cyclists and road users and do you see it any different in the Europe?
A.H – It’s tradition and culture at the end of the day. Australians have not been brought up with cyclist on the road. I believe as the sport grows the next generation will be more immune to it.
GEF – You have been described as affable and a practical joker, I think this is important because you generally ride for your team mates. Do you think if you were always serious and driven for personal results that you could work as a domestique?
A.H – I’m confused a little with this question. I hope I cover it with this answer. I take being a domestique seriously. I just thought if I was a leader this is what I would expect from my team and I put that train of thought into practice towards my leader in the race.
GEF – You are scheduled to Race the Giro, are you looking to race the Tour too?
A.H – I would like to start and finish all three [Grand Tours] this year. That would be nice.