Adam Hansen of Team Columbia-HTC is skipping his favourite race this year, the Australian national championships. In fact, he has not travelled to Australia at all this off-season, in an attempt to try something different in his preparations for the 2010 season.
Hansen, 28, is staying at his European base in the Czech Republic over the winter, where he has been enjoying some snow. "The team wanted me to take a different approach this year and spend my winter training here in Europe and not in Australia," he told Cyclingnews. Instead of riding the Tour Down Under as in the past, the team wanted him "to try something different."
While it wasn't an easy change for him to accept, Hansen acknowledged that "it makes sense. The season is long and you have to set your priorities. I'm open to different ideas and I'd like to see where this brings me."
His priority this year will be the team's number two sprinter, Andre Greipel. "The team wants me to work more with Andre this year. So my programme will be built around his. Some of my highlights will be Paris-Roubaix, Tour of Romandie, the Giro d'Italia and the Philadelphia International."
Hansen will open his season at the Mallorca Challenge in February, "which will be something different than every other year. Just hope it's not too cold."
The downside of the new schedule is missing the races in Australia. The national road race title has "always been my favourite race of the year and I always wanted to win the race." His worst result in the event was third in 2009, having finished second in 2008 and 2006.
"I love the course," Hansen noted. "It's the first race of the season, so the lead-up to it is very clear and undisturbed. It gives me total control of my efforts and I am able to peak on that given day."
While Hansen has never won the road race, he was national time trial champion in 2008.
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