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In an almost bookend fashion to our other Aussie Cyclingnews diarist, Stuart O'Grady, Adam Hansen is riding in his first Tour de France. The Team Columbia domestique is in his second year at the top level of the sport, and is ready to give his all for his teammates. While he does that the Australian time trial champion will let us peek in on the day-to-day life of a (first) Tour rider.
Hello Cyclingnews readers,
I'm back home here in the Czech Republic, my home away from Aus. It's been a busy finish to the Tour and just getting back home, so let me catch you up on what's happened.
Stage 19 was quite hard with an average of 40km/h over the first hill of the day, it was so strange! Guys were getting dropped straight away and I think three guys were outside the time limit! We were trying to set-up Gerald and he was able to win the field sprint, but unfortunately there were two guys up the road.
Then we had the TT, and let me tell you 53 km is a long TT! Wow, when you see a 50km to go sign in a time trial... you hit 3km and are just settling in and feeling comfortable and they hit you with that! Wow, it's going to be a long way to the finish. Then you hit the 35km to the finish sign and you felt like you've already done a whole TT... when is it going to end?
It started out well but I just took it easy. They just told us to do what you can but make sure you are there on the last stage on Sunday!!
It was very exciting on the last stage. Everyone takes it easy going in because when you get to the laps around the Champs Elyseses they are hard. It of course started slow with all the celebrations, and I actually thought it one of the harder stages because it was warm and we were going so slow. But it was kinda cool to talk to all the riders. Then when we got to Paris I could NOT believe the amount of people out there!
The cobbles in the turns were so difficult to manage. We were going around them very fast and it was hard to control your wheel, and everyone had the same problem. I was at the front almost the whole time because the back was crazy with riders going everywhere - it's amazing there weren't huge crashes.
We worked for Gerald again but he ended up by himself and still had a really good sprint, but a little disappointing that we couldn't help him more. But two second places is very good at the Tour, so cheers mate!
People ask me what kind of feeling you get when you come onto the circuits for the first time. Actually, it took me a few laps because when we hit the circuits because it is really fast and you have to concentrate, but once I settled in noticed I sure it. But more so when we did the parade laps for our team after the race, every team did one, that was really special. Seeing all those people, fifteen deep all the way around the circuit!
We had a good team dinner with our new sponsors Columbia. I'm actually quite and outdoors and hiking fan myself and a couple of us were trying to figure out how to get some of that for ourselves. A few of us got together and casually went over to the sponsor table and just sat right down. Safety in numbers! But it was also really good to talk to them because it is great to see a sponsor who is so switched on about the sport.
I know there are a lot of stories about the post-race parties. I don't drink (yes, I really am an Aussie) but we did have a DJ at our dinner and a few people (you know who you are) got out there and cut it up. Our souigner really showed some moves on the dance floor and our logistics lady... well, I don't want to get anyone in trouble! But it's really good to see them have some fun after being so serious for three weeks.
Right now I'm heading to Italy next for the pre-Olympic training camp. I wasn't originally on the team but If Cadel is not well enough to race I'll go with the team to Beijing. It will be exciting because I LOVE Chinese food! If I go I am not going to have one meal inside the village. I don't care how high the wall is around the place!
After that I'll be looking forward to the break I never seem to get. I was supposed to have one after the Giro but had to race the Tour. I was supposed to get it then after the Tour but now I might be racing the Olympics. Hopefully after that I can have a break to prepare for the world championships, which is the main reason for the break.
I've come home to my faithful Nespresso machine so I've got really good coffee again, finally! When I get the prize money from the team I'll see about getting the team a machine. If they get one, I'll take a photo and post it for you all to see.
Thanks to everyone for reading, it's been a great first Tour!