After starting his 20th Grand Tour in a row at the Giro d'Italia in Jerusalem on Friday, Lotto Soudal's Adam Hansen confirmed his plan to take a break from three-week stage races this July to focus on new goals in the autumn.
It's a colossal change for the Australian's race programme: one which has stayed the same for the best part of a decade. As the record-holder for Grand Tour finishes, Hansen has been taking part in Grand Tours – and finishing them all – non-stop since the Vuelta a España in 2011. He rode his 400th Grand Tour stage at the Giro on Saturday, before completing his 401st in Eilat on Sunday, placing 57th on the stage, and in 91st place overall.
But as Hansen told Cyclingnews, the time has come for a break with this 'tradition', with the aim of recharging his batteries: "l'll do this Giro but then I want to change things around and go for some more results for myself. I'm going to take a break and then freshen up, hopefully, over the summer. I want to see how doing that will affect my season."
As a result, Hansen will be missing this summer's Tour de France – which he's ridden every year since 2012. The 36-year-old aims to return to racing after the Giro d'Italia at the Tour de Pologne, then "come back for the Vuelta and be on the look-out for some stage wins". Indeed, his last professional win was at the 2014 Vuelta, when he made a late lone break to claim a stage victory in the third week.
While at this Giro, Hansen says that his goal is to finish the race and help the team.
"Tim Wellens is riding very well, but I took a really big break after Abu Dhabi, and then did Catalunya – but only riding gently, with not much training, so I've had a good rest before coming here," he said. "I'm feeling really good, and hope to finish my 20th Grand Tour on a high and get a good result here. I'm feeling very confident."
Asked if he'll miss the Tour more than he expects, and perhaps find himself on the sofa watching a stage or two this summer on TV, Hansen was pretty adamant that he wouldn't.
"I doubt it. Besides, I don't own a television!"
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Alasdair Fotheringham has been reporting on cycling since 1991. He has covered every Tour de France since 1992 as well as numerous other bike races of all shapes and sizes, ranging from the Olympic Games in 2008 to the now sadly defunct Subida a Urkiola hill climb in Spain. Apart from working for Cyclingnews.com, he is also the cycling correspondent for The Independent and The Independent on Sunday.
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