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Tour of California - 2.HC
USA, February 18-25, 2007
Hansen: Relaxed approach to ToC
The man who won the Crocodile Trophy can also conquer the hills of San Francisco. Adam Hansen celebrated his T-Mobile debut with a surprising sixth place in the prologue of the Tour of California on Sunday. Cyclingnews' Susan Westemeyer caught up with him.
Hansen is known for his love of technology and how it can help him become a better cyclist but did without all those special aids on Sunday afternoon, deciding not to use a time trial bike. "I just used my normal road bike with shallow spoke wheels. So it was no disc, no aero-bars, no front aero wheels, nothing," he noted. "I went with a pretty relaxed view into the race as it was my first one."
It helped, too, that sport director Ralf Aldag and team manager Bob Stapleton supported an 'easy does it' approach to California for the 25 year-old. "With having Ralf and Bob there to tell me there was no pressure, it was a very relaxing feeling," described Hansen of the pair's support.
On Sunday, Hansen was the 17th rider to roll off the ramp and by the end of the 3.1 kilometre stage, the Cairns-born Australian had posted a time good enough to claim sixth position in the final wash up.
Even in such a short prologue, pacing oneself is of ultimate importance, especially when it features such a nasty climb to the finish line. As a former triathlete Hansen is well accustomed to pacing himself over a distance and it was this experience that he feels brought him home as the top T-Mobile rider on the stage.
"Normally my pace judgment is very good, so I started off easy on the flat and gave it a bit more stick on the climb," he explains. "From doing lots of running races in the past, you learn to pace yourself well, because if you blow in a running race, your race is over and it's the same aspects in hill cycling race. So I did pretty well with that."
All that experience aside, Hansen admits he did make mistakes, and could have gone faster. "Having said that, I did blow in the final couple hundred meters," he admitted.
On the first stage from Sausalito - Santa Rosa, Hansen played a roll in T-Mobile's controlling of the bunch for the majority of the stage. Hansen, a former computer programmer, brought his T-Mobile Giant home in 29th place and was the fourth rider in magenta across the line. Hansen's finish in the bunch means he'll continue to hold sixth position for at least another day.
While other riders have reported they are still suffering from jet lag, the T-Mobile outfit accommodated for this in its plans by flying in a week early. It's early arrival allowed for riders to adapt to the time zone and for a training camp with its 2007 squad.
"We all had a bit of jet lag," he acknowledged. "It affected a lot of us but that's why our team wanted us to get over here a week before the race, so we are all sorted now."
Hansen said the team's training camp had a lot of benefits, with both his own and the outfit's collaborative form coming along nicely.
"The team is doing really well," he said. "We all did a lot of work in the hills and it was a good solid week for all of us."
There's never much time for sightseeing while riders are training and on tour, but T-Mobile's leader Bob Stapleton has taken matters into his own hands. Stapleton, a native Californian, allowed the riders some down time so they could enjoy the services of 'Bob's Californian Scenic Tours'.
"We have seen a bit of the coast. Bob picked us up at the airport and gave us a good tour which was nice. In fact, he has given us a few now!" Hansen said. "We also see a lot on the bike. I've seen some pretty nice country so far."
While Hansen has enjoyed his moment in the sun, he's well aware of his role in California and he has every intention of playing his role in the team's bid to take the second Tour of California.
"My goal is to support the team as well as I can, which I will do," he notes. "Get bottles, chase the breaks when I'm told - you know, all the painful stuff."
Hansen, who is currently six seconds behind event leader Levi Leipheimer, believes the team has a strong shot at winning this year's race, reporting that the team is in excellent form. His own time aside, the squad's leader, fellow Australian Michael Rogers, is just a further three seconds behind in 10th place, and Hansen will do what it takes to help his more experienced teammate.
"He is up there on GC, so I feel a lot of work coming in the days ahead, which I'm ready for," added Hansen. "Michael feels good, and the better he feels, the harder I have to work. Should be fun!"