Adam Hansen rode into the record books in 2012 when he became the second Australian to ride all three grand tours in a single year. The former Australian time trial champion is now hoping the huge foundation laid last year will help him to overcome his rivals at the Australian National Road Championships on January 13.
Hansen did not race the recent Mitchelton Bay Cycling Classic or Jayco Herald Sun Tour, like many of his competitors would have but the rider who lives in the Czech Republic during the season believes he could still be in contention for the Australian road title. With a number of top finishes over the years, it's a goal Hansen is unwilling to let go of easily.
"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 said after arriving back in Australia last week.
"Although my form will be hard to judge, because I have done three grand tours, I think that it will be a positive thing."
"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," said Hansen.
This will be Hansen's second year in the Lotto Belisol colours, having spent the 2011 season with the now separated OmegaPharma-Lotto squad. He's been a key man in André Greipel's lead-out squad and would love to have the Australian colours on his back before he gets his season started.
"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.
Having previously hinted at attempting the ‘big three' again in 2013, Hansen knows that he will still need to be in good shape for the road race. Unlike many of his fellow countrymen, he won't have the privilege of teammates in the race. If he does win the title, it will be entirely his to take back to Europe - not before lining up at the Santos Tour Down Under.
"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.