Rather than chase a high overall finish at this year’s Tour Down Under, Adam Hansen has been delegated by his Lotto Soudal team to go on the offensive, and the Australian was duly in the thick of the action on stage 2 to Stirling.
After Orica-GreenEdge shut down the day’s early move, Hansen went off the front after 28 kilometres, and, in the absence of reinforcements, forged on alone. He built up a maximum advantage of almost three minutes as he tackled the rolling finishing circuit in soaring temperatures.
“We wanted to put a guy in the breakaway, and we had Thomas De Gendt in there initially, but GreenEdge closed that,” Hansen said afterwards. “Then they asked someone else to go if they wanted to, so I put my hand up and thought I’d better go.
“It was a very tough course, one of the hardest stages of Tour Down Under. With the heat it made it a bit difficult, it was very up and down.”
Hansen’s lead was cut to a minute with 25 kilometres remaining as Orica-GreenEdge gave chase, but he still had 40 seconds in hand as he took the bell for the final lap. His show of resilience eventually came to an end with 18 kilometres remaining.
“I just held my pace and hoped that the heat would take it out of them behind but obviously it didn’t,” Hansen said. “There’s more guys than me in the bunch and that’s the way it is.”
Hansen sat up in the finale and, with further raids later in the week in mind, he was content to earn himself a little freedom by conceding 4:38 to the overall contenders.
“The team want me to go in breakaways in this Tour Down Under and not go for GC, so I’m just here to race and enjoy myself,” he explained. “I’d like to be in a few more breaks. It was nice that I lost some time today because usually I’m up there in GC, but they’ll let me go in the breakaways now and maybe I’ll have a chance to win a stage.
“The Tour Down Under is a place where I haven’t really achieved something so it would be nice to get a stage win here, for sure.”