Adam Hansen was just off the massage table when we caught up with him on tonight, we couldn’t talk during massage because the masseur is “a full-on techno anthems trance guy” — just like Davie Urquhart, then? (Just joking, Davie!)
Team mate Andrei Greipel had just taken his third win of the Vuelta — and Columbia’s 80th of the year.
A good day for Columbia, Adam; were you in the mix?
“We all were, there are only seven of us left and it got a bit messy with Liquigas and QuickStep in there; but Andrei managed to take it.”
How many Grand Tours now, Adam?
“This is number five; the Vuelta used to be my favourite — until this one!
“Two years ago it was less stressful, the stages were shorter and there weren’t so many mountains.
“But this is a very hard race, the rest day after just four days hasn’t helped either — it makes for a very long, tough last week; after the second rest day we went straight into a block of three super hard days.”
Are you happy with your Vuelta, so far?
“I can’t complain, I’ve had a fifth and a seventh; I’m still hoping for a break but if you’re in a sprinter’s team it’s very hard to get away because the other teams know that will help you control things.
“I was happy with my time trial too.”
What’s been the toughest stage so far?
“The three back to back mountain stages out of the second rest day were very hard.
“My tactic is to try and get in the break, but if I don’t, then go with the gruppetto; I can climb half-good, so it’s not so tough for me in there.”
A lot of the guys are saying that the race is too hard for September.
“I do think that, the season is long; a lot of guys go from the Vuelta to the Worlds, but it would be too hard to finish the Vuelta and do the road Worlds — I’m riding the Worlds; but time trial only.
“Two years ago, though, you could have ridden the full Vuelta and the Worlds.”
We’ve been hearing a lot about the heat.
“It’s been overcast and cooler lately, so it’s not too bad — rain has been forecast on a lot of stages but we’ve had good luck.”
Some of the roads are pretty gnarly.
“Yeah, we’ve had a lot of flat tyres; but Spain is a big country and some of the roads could be better.”
Is Valverde going to win?
“He looks comfortable and there’s no doubt that he has the strongest team — they have him bubble wrapped!
“I think he can pull it off but Sanchez always has a good third week.”
“For me, Gesink — he’s always been good, but this race has been super hard and I’ve been impressed with how he’s ridden.”
Are you sick of race food, yet?
“I’m actually lactose intolerant; I can’t eat bars, so all I’ve been eating in the stages is gels!
“There’s a joke in the team about hiding the gels when I’m around — I get through about 14 in a stage.
“PowerBar do good flavours, so I’m not sick of them — yet!”
What do you miss most about home?
“I miss my home in Czech, yeah; it’s beautiful, comfortable — I miss just doing my own thing, hanging out with my friends, cross training.”
Can Greipel hang on to the points jersey, now?
“I hope so, but you know he was docked 25 points, don’t you?
“The gruppetto finished outside the time limit, but there were too many riders in it for them to eliminate everyone, so we were all docked 25 points.
“If the race finishes with a 25 K climb, the time limit could be 29 minutes — that means that to be outside of it you’re only losing a little over a minute per kilometre, and that’s not difficult.
“It’s not a UCI rule and it only affects the guys going for the points — that’s the sprinters and their teams.
“It means that we’ll have to do our usual work on the flat stages but then we’ll be under pressure on the mountain stages too — the other teams won’t do anything to help.”
Will you be ‘full gas,’ in the last TT?
“I’m really looking forward to it, two years ago in this race was my first good time trial performance; I hope to crack the top ten, or even top eight.
“The only thing is that it comes after a super hard day.”
Do you keep abreast of the Tour of Britain?
“Yeah, the DS tells us what’s happening; it’s great to see Edvald doing well, we all love him — he’s such a nice guy.
“He’ll go right to the top; the classics, Grand Tours — Sky have made a good buy, there!”
And did you see your girlfriend on the second rest day?
“No, unfortunately not — she was racing!
“She’s Luise Keller; she races for the Columbia ladies team — we’re having two days together in Milano after the Vuelta.”
“UCI control; blood and urine!” boomed the voice in the background. Time to say ‘adios’ to Adam then; we’ll be talking to him again in Madrid.