It’s almost a Tour de France tradition for the pre-race talk to not be centred around the upcoming edition, but instead, around the drama taking place off the bikes.
GreenEDGEFans spoke to Adam Hansen, domestique for Lotto-Belisol who will be a key worker for the World Championship Road Race on Sunday on the eve of the World Championships.
GEF: What do you and the other riders think about the inclusion of the Team Time Trial in the Worlds? What do the teams think of it.
Adam: It’s good, we like it. Why not have it? It’s very interesting to watch and we enjoy taking part. For the teams it is very important. A lot of points are up for grabs. Teams need this for their licenses. For the riders, well. Not many riders enjoy a Team Time Trial, it’s painful.
GEF: Congratulations on finishing three Grand Tours in one year. Are there any moments that stand-out?
Adam: It’s is hard to say them all. I’ve always liked the Giro. The race is just different to the others and for me it’s always nice to be in Italy being a part of it. The Tour is special because it’s the Tour. We were very successful there and it was nice to be part of a team that won so much. This year’s Vuelta was my least favourite. Normally it’s my favourite Grand Tour because of how it’s relaxed and how it gives riders an opportunity to ride well and have a chance, especially riders like me. But this year’s Vuelta had so many uphill finishes and I went into the race a little over trained, which did not help the situation.
GEF: Is there any tour you enjoyed most?
Adam: I think I enjoyed the Giro and Tour the most.
GEF: The only other Australian to do three Grand Tours was Neil Stephens who was also an exceptionally talented domestique. This seems to have been a goal for you. Is this because you are seeking a measure of success when usually a domestique does not get many chances?
Adam: Yes and no. I think a lot of riders dream about riding the Tour and when I did that I just thought ‘Imagine doing all 3 in one year,’ so I tried it.
GEF: You had some really good digs in the Grand Tours this year which certainly got many here in Australia excited, but fortune does not always favour the brave. Do you ask team management to have a go or do you wait for the chance to come-up?
Adam: It’s different for different races. During the Giro and Vuelta we had a bit of a wild card to do as we wish most stages. During the the Giro I was a bit held back with a broken sternum. This really affected about 10 days of racing and the Vuelta was just made more for climbers and gave little chances for riders like myself. The tour was different. We were told to strictly don’t go in a breakaway and always support Jurgen Van Den Broeck or André Greipel. It was only stage 18 we had the ok from the sports director. This day I was lucky to be in the right break but we failed; the bunch caught us just 450m before the line.
GEF: The World Championships in Limburg is coming-up and I guess you will be one of the workhorses for the team. You have shown this year that your climbing has improved: any chance of a rainbow Jersey?
Adam: If you mean for Simon then maybe yes. He has showed good form leading up to it and we will ride in support for him.
GEF: Australian team tactics are confidential of course but I guess your team has so much talent that there could be many possibilities. Simon Gerrans and Simon Clarke both from Orica-GreenEDGE have demonstrated recently they both are racing particularly well and the course suits them. Also Richie Porte and Michael Rogers from Team Sky are in excellent form and both can climb exceptionally well. Do you have any comments about how the race will pan out?
Adam: It’s already been made no secret that Simon is our leader. I think on this style of course anything could and will happen. The weather will be the greatest impact and that will turn the race around. If there is one drop of rain, expect the Belgians and the Dutch to ramp it up.
GEF: I see the possibility of two pronged attacks with so many talented riders from different nations marking each other without race radios. It could be an exceptionally exciting race to watch.
Adam: I think Matt White will have some guys going for the break and others waiting for Simon. That would be pretty simple. It’s always hard without race radios to keep everyone informed on what lies ahead and who is in the break.
GEF: What are your thoughts about race radios?
Adam: From a worker’s point of view it actually increases the value of us in a team. With radios it’s easier to control, be clever and time everything almost to perfection. Without radios there is more actual racing. Breaks have to be held closer, more guys try and sneak away and just more work to be done.
GEF: You always come back to Australia during our summer and like to race the Nationals. Looking ahead to season 2013 where do you see yourself? Also is their any chance we will see you at the Sun Tour now that it is around the Nationals and Tour Down Under time?
Adam: Yes. I will come after Christmas to Australia and prepare for the Australian champs. Then I will head back to Cairns and get ready for The Tour Down Under. I don’t think I will do Sun Tour. I don’t know the dates yet and it might be difficult as our team won’t be taking part.
Thanks Adam. Good luck Sunday