Adam Hansen (Lotto-Soudal) will achieve a record-breaking 13 consecutive Grand Tours completed if he can finish the Vuelta a Espana, which starts this weekend.
The Australian equalled the record of Spaniard Bernardo Ruiz with number 12 when he finished the Tour de France last month. However, the Spaniard achieved his feat in the 1950s, when the Vuelta was two weeks long rather than three.
Another Spaniard, Marino Lejarreta, had set the previous record of 10 straight (three-week) Grand Tours back in the 1990s, with Hansen completing his 10th with the Vuelta last year. He also won the 19th stage of last year’s race.
However, it’s not a given by any means that Hansen will achieve this feat. In last month’s Tour, he was involved in a mass pile-up on the second stage and dislocated his shoulder. He continued on for the next three weeks though, despite the pain. At the finish in Paris, he said that it had been the hardest of all Grand Tours he had completed.
Directeur Sportif of the Lotto-Soudal team, Mario Aerts, is hopeful of another stage in the Vuelta for the Aussie. He said, “Adam Hansen is a man who can join an early breakaway. But he can score with a late jump as well. He will definitely have studied the route, last year he had marked the stage he won as well.”
“So Adam can aim for a stage win of his own, but apart from that he will also support the GC riders in the mountains and he can take the sprinters to the front.”
“He’s a valuable rider in the team. It’s not easy what he does, all those Grand Tours in a row, nothing may go wrong. That almost happened in the Tour, but he has such a strong character that he accomplished that as well.”