It was a sad day today for VeloVeritas’ newly married editor Martin; he had to go back to his day job — and on the rest day! Life just isn’t fair! Meanwhile we caught up with Columbia’s ex Aussie Elite TT champion and twice podium finisher in the Aussie Elite road race champs, Adam Hansen, to get the story so far as the Vuelta eventually returns home.
You’ll be happy the transfer is over, Adam?
“Yeah, what was good was that we flew on the same night as we raced; that gives you the whole rest day to yourself.
“The flight was delayed though and we sat on the run way for ages — my legs were a little stiff when we got off the plane, but not too bad. I’ve been involved in worse transfers in the Giro!”
Columbia’s goals for the race?
“Stage wins — we’ve had two already, but the more the merrier! It’s also a preparation race for the Worlds for Bert Grabsch — who won the time trial here two years ago — and Kim Kirchen.”
And your job?
“I’m here to help; look after Greipel – like I did yesterday – and maybe get myself into a break.”
“Cool, I was very excited about it; I have a new TT position which I was keen to test, but just as I was sitting on the start ramp massive rain started and the wind came up – I just had to laugh, the exact same thing happened to me in the TT a Dunkirk. The race wasn’t the same for everyone, but sometimes time trials are like that.
“The event was good — smooth tarmac, nice corners and a huge crowd giving a great atmosphere.
“On the autoroute on the way to the race, the team bus got held up in a huge traffic jam; we thought there had been an accident, but it was just the sheer volume of people going to the race — the queue was eight kilometres long.”
“I was happy for Ciolek to win, he’s had a tough time lately I believe, and it was good to see him back on top.
“We set up a good train but we’re not familiar with riding with each other in that situation, yet – we had a lot of punctures that day too, which didn’t help.”
Stage two, Columbia win.
“We were setting it up for Greipel but that was a very easy stage; there were a lot of trains trying to set up at the end and we ended up losing each other.
“Greipel couldn’t hold Greg’s wheel with all the corners and fighting and barging going on; with 800 to go there was an ‘S’ bend and Greipel was too far back – Brian (Holm) in the car said over the radio that Greg should go for it himself.
“Greg is incredible at holding a wheel in a situation like that, and he has all that track speed at the line.”
Stage three — ‘same again, please!’ and you were there, too.
“I was lucky! It was up and down all day but Greipel climbs well – I was looking after him and he didn’t struggle too much on the hills that day.
“At the end I started the lead out early, I was thinking that it was a little bit too early, but if you leave it too late then you can get swamped — I didn’t want to risk that, so I just went!
“I was driving the train and we went through a roundabout [where the massive crash occurred] I heard a noise and glanced back but couldn’t see anything for the rider behind me and kept going.
“I did a maximum turn and swung off, when I looked back, there were just a couple of Columbias and QuickSteps, and behind them, open road with no one in sight I was thinking; ‘wow!’”
Management must be happy?
“Very happy, especially because the wins are by different riders, it shows we have strength in depth — it’s good because the wins take the pressure off us.”
Did the transfer scupper you your stage three champagne?
“Yeah, come to think of it, that’s right; we didn’t celebrate because of the transfer.”
I believe the roads were a bit ‘hairy’ in Holland?
“Yeah, most of the riders here aren’t used to this type of road; it was a nightmare, with guys locking wheels, bumping into each other – I crashed on day two but I was lucky, it was nothing serious.”
Tough conditions for the GC climbers.
“Especially in the cross winds, all the little guys were having to battle for position.”
Holland, overall, gimmick or good?
“Interesting! It breaks it the race up but the weather has been rough — we’re happy to be in Spain with the sunshine, now.
“The joke going round when we arrived on the race was that we’d landed at the wrong airport! When I told friends that I was riding the Vuelta, they were asking if I was flying in to Barcelona; I had to say; ‘no, Rotterdam!’”
The big transfer must be hard work for the team.
“The bus left two days ago with our suitcases, we’ve just had our back packs — there are no spare bikes, either because the truck had to leave to get down to Spain.
“There’s been a lot of organisation and additional staff involved.”
The Vuelta starts properly on Thursday, then?
“Well, I guess we’d say that if we hadn’t won anything — but we’ve won half the stages so far! It’s good to here and into the nice weather, though.”
How was your rest day?
“I was up early, had breakfast, went for a 90 minute ride then had massage — and now my lovely girlfriend has come to see me!”
We’ll leave you in peace, I’m sure she’s much more interesting than us! All the best for the next few days, Adam; we’ll talk to you, soon.