In August 2011, Adam Hansen lined out for the eighth Grand Tour of his career at the Vuelta a España. Little did the Australian know the Grand Tour would the be first in his current streak of 19 consecutive three-week races.
Hansen has hinted at ending his Grand Tour streak in the past season and was originally left off the Lotto Soudal team for the 2017 Vuelta. A broken hip for teammate Rafa Valls in a training ride crash opened the door for Hansen and extended his run.
Down to ride the 2018 Giro in May, Hansen confirmed to Cyclingnews at the Tour of Guangxi that his Grand Tour run will end at either the Tour de France or Vuelta.
"I think I'll do the Giro next year for sure and then I might skip the Tour. Or do the Tour and not do the Vuelta. I'll have to speak to the sports directors first to see that they want and hopefully work out a good plan," Hansen said.
A mountain biker before joining the pro road ranks, Hansen is a two-time Crocodile Trophy winner, the 36-year-old made his Grand Tour debut at the Giro in 2007 and through to the 2011 Vuelta, enjoyed a variety of racing programmes. The 2008 national time trial title was Hansen's first success on the road. He then took his first stage race win two year's later at the Ster Elektrotoer.
Six straight seasons of racing the three Grand Tours has limited Hansen's opportunities to explore new programmes and typecast him as a three-week racer. A major reason then for embracing a change in 2018 as he explained.
"I think it will be good. I have had the same programme every year and it has been very repetitive so it will be nice to have a little bit of change," he said. "I look forward to doing something different and just not the same thing."
For Hansen, who has 26 Grand Tours to his name, the change could also open the door to pursue his personal ambitions.
"I hope it goes that way and that is why I'd like to change it. They want me to do the three grand tours for a more of a support role so if I get more opportunity for myself I would be very happy with that," added Hansen, who has three top-ten results at the Tour of Turkey and a ninth place at Tour Down Under on his palmares.
While Hansen is after a shake-up of his programme for 2018, the new season will have a familiar start as he laid out the first races on his calendar for the new year.
"I am going to do nationals, Tour Down Under, Cadel Evans, Abu Dhabi and then I hope to do Volta Ciclista a Catalunya, Frankfurt and then Giro or maybe Switzerland and then see after that," he said in conclusion.