Adam Hansen’s ever increasing run of consecutive Grand Tours has been an underlying theme over the past six seasons. After riding a record 18 in a row, Hansen's run will come to an end after he missed selection for Lotto Soudal's Vuelta a Espana team.
Hansen has ridden and finished every Grand Tour since the 2011 Vuelta a Espana. His 19th Grand Tour seemed a mere formality, but Hansen was informed by the team that he would not take the start in Nimes later this month. A look at the provisional start list shows that he also not on the team's reserve list.
"I was just told by one sports director recently that I would not be taking part in this year's Vuelta, that I did not make the selection," Hansen told Australian publication Ride Media. "The team has riders other than myself who they would prefer to take."
Hansen has been part of the Lotto-Soudal set-up since 2011, after leaving HTC Highroad the year before. At 36, he is the second oldest in the team’s line-up and one of the most experienced. During his run of Grand Tour appearances, Hansen took two stage wins. His first came at the 2013 Giro d’Italia with his second just over a year later at the 2014 Vuelta a Espana. The Australian says that not making the cut has been a bitter pill to take and not how he wanted his record-breaking run to end.
"I am not thrilled with this decision, and it's hard for me to take. It's not the way I wanted it to end, but this is the team choice, and it's not in my control. I have to respect what they say," said Hansen. "The Vuelta is one of the best Grand Tours and in our team, it's always a good race for me.
"In our team, there is not an obvious outright leader for the Vuelta, and it's nice to go there and have your chance for yourself – have a bit of a free card."
Like many, Hansen was expecting that he'd be at the Vuelta a Espana and missing out means that he has to make alternative plans for the final months of the season. There isn't an awful lot left on the cards, but rides at the Tour of Britain and Munsterland Giro are a possibility.
"I have already looked forward on the calendar, and there are not many other races left," he said. "I like Hamburg, which I might ask for even though the team is also selected. Then, I guess, maybe the Tour of Britain, Münsterland Giro or the Tour of Guangxi, which would be nice."