Hansen hoping record breaking 2012 leads to Nationals glory
Following a gruelling 2012 season in which he became the second Australian rider to complete all three Grand Tours in the same year, Adam Hansen will line up in a 163â€“strong menâ€™s road race at the Mars 2013 Cycling Australia Road National Championships in Ballarat.
Following a gruelling 2012 season in which he became the second Australian rider to complete all three Grand Tours in the same year, Adam Hansen will line up in a 163–strong men’s road race at the Mars 2013 Cycling Australia Road National Championships in Ballarat.
2012 was nothing short of astonishing for Hansen, with the thirty-one-year-old Lotto-Belisol rider covering an amazing 17,000 kilometres across 106 racing days.
His season began with the Road Nationals in Buninyong last January, and on that day in Buninyong, Hansen finished fourth in a brutal contest that saw only 21 of the 140 starters complete the 163 kilometre event.
Later in the season, Hansen became just the 33rd rider in history, and second Australian after Neil Stephens, to complete all three Grand Tours - Giro d’Italia, Tour de France and the Vuelta Espana - in the same season.
Hansen also contested the road race at the 2012 UCI World Championships in the Netherlands, before completing his 10-month season at the final UCI World Tour event of the year, the Tour of Beijing.
Despite a taxing year both physically and mentally, Hansen will once again use Australia’s greatest one-day race on Sunday January 13, as a catapult to start his 2013 season.
“I am feeling good, have been looking after myself and in the next few days I’ll work on picking up the intensity to find some speed, to get ready for the Nationals," Hansen told #Roadnats just hours after arriving in Australia on January 3. “Although my form will be hard to judge, because I have done three grand tours, I think that it will be a positive thing."
Since claiming the 2008 Australian time trial title in Buninyong, Hansen has come agonisingly close to adding a road jersey, with three top four finishes, including two podium appearances.
The most infamous of those results came in 2009 when Victoria’s Peter McDonald outfoxed Hansen and his then Columbia-Highroad team-mate Mick Rogers inside the final few kilometres to take the victory, leaving the pair with the minor medals.
It is these ‘near misses’ that has the Queenslander aiming for victory in Buninyong and the elusive green and gold jersey.
“For me, to wear the green and gold jersey in Europe has been one of the main goals I’ve ever had in my career,” remarked Hansen.
“All the European riders always say the Australian jersey is definitely one of the nicest national champions jerseys you can wear in the peloton.
“So it would be great if I could wear that, and I would hope to honour it very well in Europe," he said.
Hansen will line up against the cream of Australia's male road riders including the trio that finished ahead of him in 2012 in defending champion Simon Gerrans, Matthew Lloyd and Richie Porte. In fact, the past four of the past five champions in Gerrans, Jack Bobridge, Travis Meyer, Lloyd and Darren Lapthorne will contest the Championship.
“Every year the Road Nationals gets harder and harder and races such as the Road Nationals are becoming more important for Australian pros who race in Europe because we have to be in top form," said Hansen.
“I just hope I have the foundation in my legs from my 2012 season and when the last few laps come up in Ballarat, I will be able to handle the run home."
Following the Mars Cycling Australia Road National Championships, Hansen will head to South Australia for the Santos Tour Down Under aiming to improve on his sixth place finish in 2012.
“It’s always nice to race on home soil, it is a different feeling and it is good to be back in the hot weather,” he joked.
The 2013 MARS Cycling Australia Road National Championships will be held in Ballarat and Buninyong from Wednesday 9 to Sunday 13 January 2013.
The 195.6km men’s road race will begin at 11.30am on Sunday 13 January 2013.
SBS will provide LIVE coverage of the elite men's road race from 2pm to 5pm (AEDT) on Sunday 13 January 2013 on SBS ONE and streaming online at Cycling Central.