An interview with the 'Crocodile Man'

First of all, just what is the Crocodile Trophy? "You can't explain the Crocodile Trophy," he says....

Australian Adam Hansen certainly isn't one to turn down a challenge. After a few years riding for Continental Professional teams in Austria, the 25-year-old is ready to take the big step and ride for T-Mobile in the Pro Tour next year. But is the Pro Tour really a challenge to a young man who has twice won the Crocodile Trophy, which has been called 'the hardest race on the planet'? Cyclingnews' Susan Westemeyer caught up with him as he announced his signing with the German team.

First of all, just what is the Crocodile Trophy? "You can't explain the Crocodile Trophy," he says. "I wish I could, but there are no words to explain it. It's a mental race. It's hard as hell, physically and mentally. It's a race that takes you so far out of your comfort zones, you wish you'd never signed the start sheet. The only way to have a close idea is to race it, because there is no other race like it."

Indeed, there is certainly no European race like it. An earlier interview with Hansen describes the race this way: "It involves 15-days of slogging it out in bulldust, corrugated tracks and creek crossings in stifling tropical heat. When each stage is over, the riders pitch tents at night and hand-wash knicks before the next day's torture."

After not only riding that race twice, but actually winning it twice, the thought of riding around Europe in its genteel races must sound like a vacation. But the transition to the European racing scene was a bit more difficult than expected. In 2005 he rode for the Pro Continental Team Elk Haus, an experience he doesn't like to remember. "If something could go wrong, it did go wrong. That was my season at Elk Haus."

He could have continued with that team, but chose to transfer to the smaller APO Sport Team. "I had a better support and atmosphere there. It's a rider's dream to have a sports director like the one I did at APO Sport, Christoph Resl."

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