Known as one of the strongmen of the peloton, today Adam Hansen (Lotto Belisol) shook off the company of his five breakaway companions one by one and battled hard in the pouring rain and on glacial road surfaces to take a fantastic solo win on the Giro d’Italia’s seventh stage, finishing over a minute clear of the small group led in by Italy’s Enrico Battaglin (Bardiani Valvole) and Danilo Di Luca (Vini Fantini).
The Aussie rider, a “big unit” in the World Tour and hugely respected as a team player and lead-out engine extraordinaire is nevertheless a softly-spoken, modest and shy man.
He had identified today’s route and distance as suiting a long break and figured such a move had the potential to stay away – not such a common occurrence these days – but despite the calculations and planning that he put into his ride today, he still looked at the same time astounded and delighted as he freewheeled over the line to take the biggest professional win of his career, and in his fifth appearance at the Giro.
A pro since 2007, Adam is more comfortable away from the spotlight, working for the team and doing what he can to ensure wins for his colleagues. He’s no stranger to success himself, winning the Ster Elektrotoer 2.1 Stage Race in 2010 and the Australian Time Trial Championships two years before that, but Adam’s value to his team lies in the power and organisation he can bring to the sprint train – particularly in his beloved grand tours, not to mention that his off-beat sense of humour and imaginative Tweeting is good for team morale.
Back in early 2010 when we spoke to Adam, he was looking forward to working with HTC-Columbia team-mate Andre Greipel more, and their friendship and working partnership has only become stronger since then, with Adam playing a large part in each of Andre’s three stage wins at the Tour de France last year; there’s no doubt his team will be absolutely chuffed for him today and will make sure he’s a little spoilt on his 32nd birthday tomorrow.
Adam got into the hard-won break which began around 29km into the race and took some strong riding by the six for over 30km to establish, before the peloton relaxed sufficiently and allowed the lead to stretch out to around seven minutes, but as the weather closed in and the hills took their toll Adam rode his fellow escapees off his wheel one by one, each of them eventually being caught by the chasers and spat out the front group.