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by Shane Stokes
August 11, 2017
Photography by Tim Bardsley-Smith
Having learned last week that he will part of Lotto-Soudal’s lineup for the Vuelta a España after all, and thus get to ride a record-extending 19th Grand Tour, Adam Hansen has thanked his fans for their support.
The Australian was initially left dissatisfied when his team stated last week that it wouldn’t select him. It cited a saddle sore he picked up during the Tour de France and which had affected his training, saying that it believed he would not be sufficiently ready in time for the Spanish event.
However on Monday the team said that Rafel Valls was out of the squad due to a fractured hip and that it had decided to take Hansen in his place.
“The Australian had initially not been selected, but this late change will allow him to go on with his record-breaking run of Grand Tour participations,” said the team. “The sports directors and medical staff hope that his saddle sore will be sufficiently healed, but there is no doubt that Hansen will start his nineteenth Grand Tour in a row with determination.”
Responding to that, Hansen has now issued an open letter to his fans, saying that he greatly appreciated their support. Interestingly, he said that others had also expressed similar sentiments, including the team’s own sport directors and staff plus fellow professionals.
“I’ve had a bigger reaction towards this than each of my Grand Tour stage wins,” he noted.
“After reading what you have all been saying, it really shows that in cycling it’s more than about who is first across the line. Sure, there are 21 winners in every Grand Tour, but you fans have showed me that there is only one guy that turns up every single time regardless, year after year, and made me feel it is something special and unique.”
Interestingly, Hansen said that Lotto-Soudal is looking after his health and indicated it may be concerned about the toll six years of consecutive Grand Tours has taken on his body.
“I know the team wants to protect me, and of course I could be a better rider if I took more rest and refocused on different goal[s] and I appreciate that from my team Lotto-Soudal.”
However he also underlined the importance to him of taking on such a tough task. “I feel I an really testing myself mentally and physically on what the human body can do, and pushing the limits to the max and seeing where the maximum of myself is.”
Read on to see Hansen’s full open letter to his fans.
I want to [say] thanks for the support to all my fans on Social media, both Twitter and Facebook. It has been very overwhelming to read all the messages and comments regarding my selection in the Vuelta, [from] not only the fans, but even messages from some of our sports directors, our team staff and also from more than expected [numbers of] other pro riders. I’ve had a bigger reaction towards this than each of my Grand Tour stage wins.
I always wondered why when I sign on at the start of every stage that they always talk about my consecutive Tours and never that I have won stages in both Giro and Vuelta. But after reading what you have all been saying, it really shows that in cycling it’s more than about who is first across the line. Sure, there are 21 winners in every Grand Tour, but you fans have showed me that there is only one guy that turns up every single time regardless, year after year, and made me feel its something special and unique.
A Grand Tour is the hardest sporting event in the world, where riders battle on for 3 weeks, day after day, riding unbelievable amounts of kms, super high mountain[s] in the cold, rain, snow or hail. We battle it through even with broken bones because all of us has the special passion to finish what we started. It’s 4 weeks on the road away from family and friends. It’s not easy. Doing one a year is a hard task. Doing two is not normal and doing three in a year only less than two handfuls of riders have ever completed. I’ve done 18 in a row, now starting 19.
I know the team wants to protect me, and of course I could be a better rider if I took more rest and refocused on different goal[s] and I appreciate that from my team Lotto-Soudal. Sure when I told @ridemediaHQ that I’m not thrilled for section [non-selection], who wouldn’t be sad given the circumstances from an athlete that loves doing what he does. If I did not care, I could not have come this far.
I have even spoken a lot about it with @MetheScooterBoy regarding this, what direction I should take. A new one or continue, because [of] the toll it has taken on my body.
However at the moment I have this good thing going. It could end on the first stage of the Vuelta this year from a crash, you never know. I feel I’m the guy that goes to work every day, do [does] my job, doesn’t complain and clocks off work when I should, day in and day out, and who doesn’t like to quit anything that I have started. I feel I an really testing myself mentally and physically on what the human body can do and pushing the limits to the max and seeing where the maximum of myself is.
So I’m back. I will start my 19th Grand Tour in a row. Six years of suffering, pain and pure love of it all. Cycling I love and I loved the reactions and support from my fans. You have really shown me that this is something the fans are also excited about…and, of course, I will do my best.
Thanks for the support!