By Susan Westemeyer
Adam Hansen has seen hell, and he doesn't like it. The Australian on Team High Road probably would prefer traditional heat and flames over the rain and cold of the Hel van het Mergelland ('hell of Mergelland') Saturday. Together with young team-mate Tony Martin, he took off early in the race and the pair was able to stay away until the end. And in the end, he let Martin go over the finish line first.
"The race was good, but too cold for me and that's what got me in the end," he told Cyclingnews. "I couldn't change gears or even brake, so with the last 30 kilometres [remaining] I went rather bad. Tony asked how we should do it and I said he could have it [the victory]. If I had dressed better then I would have felt a lot better, but as the day went on it was really bad for me. It was like my hands were taped up and I couldn't do anything."
It was Martin's first victory for Team High Road. The 22 year-old was racing well in the U23 category in the last couple of years for Team Energie Thühringer. He was waiting to become professional until his studies were complete. Now he can fully concentrate on his road cycling career. Before the season, Martin said he wouldn't imagine winning much for himself, instead helping out the team. But with the two-man break clear, Hansen and Martin had to figure out the placing one way or the other.
The Australian explained that "we went hand on hand [up to the finish] and I gave him a bit of a push just before the line. He needs the win more than I do." Hansen concluded that "it doesn't really matter in my eyes who wins, we are from the same team."