T-Mobile's Adam Hansen came to professional cycling through a most unusual route. Once a database software developer, this Crocodile Trophy winner is now poised to take on the European road season on a top ProTour team. How did he manage that? Cyclingnews' Susan Westemeyer caught up with the self-confessed "techno geek" at his European home in the Czech Republic, between the T-Mobile training camp and his magenta debut in the Tour of California.
Adam Hansen is cycling's "Crocodile Man" - a two-time winner of the Crocodile Trophy, a race he describes as "a race you can't explain." One would expect this Cairns, Australia, native to therefore be a rough, tough, hard-edged and hard-speaking man, who rides on guts and instincts alone and makes his way along in the Outback with only a few rough tools. Instead, he is a soft-spoken man who worked as a database software developer for three years before becoming a pro cyclist.
When T-Mobile announced that they signed Adam Hansen, the name may not have been familiar to most of those who follow the European racing circuit, but it was certainly well-known to Lothar Heinrich, the team's doctor. "I have a lot of respect for this man. He is my coach, but I call him doctor because of my respect for him," Hansen said. "He says 'jump' and I say 'how high?'. That's how my training is with him."
How did all this come about? Crocodile Trophy organizer Gerhard Schönbacher became Hansen's manager and sent him to Europe to take his chances with road cycling. "I was between contracts with work (software developer) and I though, why not?" He went to Austria in 2001 and turned pro two years later, riding for a series of small Austrian teams.
For the full interview with Hansen, click here.