Out on the open road at the Tour Down Under, Adam Hansen (Lotto Soudal) represents the riders’ interests when it comes to their safety. As a key member of the Cyclistes Professionnels Associés (CPA), the closest thing professional riders have to a union, Hansen works with race organizers before, during, and after the stages to ensure the safety of all the riders. Remarkably, his position with the CPA is an unpaid position, and he covers all his own expenses.
The CPA has a rider representative at every race, whether it be Hansen or someone else.
Hansen has become a vocal figure this week at the Tour Down Under, as searing temperatures above 40-degrees Celcius (104F) have baked the peloton the last two stages. Stage three on Thursday was shortened by 26 kilometers and Friday’s fourth stage began an hour earlier in an attempt to avoid the hottest part of the day.
As the mercury tipped toward 45-degrees Celsius (113F) out on the road on Friday, many riders in the peloton grew frustrated and wanted to cancel the stage. Hansen fired back, taking to Twitter after the stage to defend his position, voice his irritation at the riders’ complaints and explain why his job is not an easy one.
“To some of the riders at @tourdownunder …. we have had 2 laps taken away yesterday. Today we started an hour earlier. I’m trying here. But….,” Hansen wrote on Twitter followed by a lengthy statement, which can be read in full below.
This isn’t the first time tempers have flared in the peloton due to extreme weather conditions. At the Tour of Oman in 2016, temperatures reached 50-degrees Celsius on stage five and tubular tires were exploding during the neutral section due to the extreme temperature. The riders came together in protest and patriarchs of the peloton, Fabian Cancellara and Tom Boonen, spoke with race organizers to cancel the stage. Although, some riders complained afterward about wanting to race.
A need for a stronger rider’s union became more prevalent after the 2013 Milan-Sanremo, which saw the peloton battle snow and freezing temperatures.
The CPA has made much progress in recent years. A stage of the 2016 Tirreno-Adriatico was canceled due to snow and last year’s opening stage of the Tour Down Under was shortened due to extreme heat.
Adam Hansen’s full statement:
“What I don’t appreciate as a CPA delegate.
I had mixed reactions from the riders about the heat today. Yes there were many riders who wanted to stop the race. But there were also other riders who wanted to race. Even one Spanish rider who I asked if it was too hot said, If it’s too hot for some people, tell them not to start their season at the TDU.
But what I really didn’t appreciate after the last climb a rider yelling at me saying everyone wanted to stop. Screaming at me and saying I am the only one who wants to race in this heat.
You are wrong, the ones who complained wanted to stop. The quiet ones were ok to continue. Get your facts right, not everyone shared your same opinion.
So listen. I have spent a lot of time with the CPA, doing work for you guys. I have paid all my expenses and spent a lot of money to try and help the riders. I have not taken a single euro from the CPA or from the riders money. Everything I have done is for free. I don’t need to waste my own personal time to do this for my benifit. Please be more considerate.”