by Lorenzo Piccoli
Cycling outfit is expensive and difficult to pick. Most cycling teams have horrible jerseys, packed with dodgy sponsors and eccric colours. I have Mapei jersey and shorts since I was a kid. It was a present from my uncle. At the time, I wanted to dress like the Russian Pavel Tonkov, the archi-enemy of Marco Pantani at the Giro d’Italia of 1997 and 1998. Indeed, the whole of Italy was cheering for the latter, but I was already a bit of a bastian contrario at the time.
Last year I decided it was time to get a new outfit. It took me one year to pick, but I eventually chose the Australian national team. This is my own tribute to Adam Hansen, the one cyclist in the circus that truly entertains his fans.
At the Giro d’Italia in Spring this year Adam Hansen will attempt to continue his unbroken run of Grand Tour finishes. The Aussie’s consecutive Grand Tour rides started at the 2011 Vuelta a España. Since then, he has participated and finished every Vuelta, Giro and Tour del France.
This is a unique challenge. Riding one Grand Tour takes plenty of strength; riding all three Grand Tours for seven consecutive years is a gigantic and somehow extremely lucky effort. Think of all things that can go wrong before and during the race, from crashing to being sick. Yet, Adam Hansen is now close to bringing his total to 20 – twice as many consecutive races as those of Marino Lejarreta, previous record’s holder from the 1980s.
Hansen is a spectacular rider who built up his own antics and style race after race. Seizing the moment to rejoice in the purity of the race he often provides an extra thrill for the fans.
Hansen likes to change things up in order to remain mentally fresh. He created several companies and he often works on matters relating to those in his hotel room in the evenings after Grand Tour stages. This is how he channels his energy in other ways and keeping his mind occupied while switching off from the race. Over the years he has started to manufacture his own carbon fibre shoes and to develop a software called “Logicycle” that he’s written for his Lotto-Soudal team to help their logistics. Marginal gains.
Plenty of riders are popular, but few earn the cult following of Adam Hansen.