MILAN (VN) — If any rider deserves a break, it’s Lotto-Soudal’s Adam Hansen.
The veteran Australian is calling time on his grand-tour streak of starting and completing 20 grand tours in a row, and confirmed the 2018 Giro d’Italia will mark an end to his history-making run.
“This is my 20th in a row and I’ve finished them all,” Hansen told Eurosport. “It’s something special, something that’s never been done before.”
The 37-year-old confirmed earlier this year he would not be making an attempt at 21 in a row at this summer’s Tour de France.
With this Giro, Hansen’s started 27 grand tours during his career beginning with his Giro debut in 2007. After pulling out of both the 2010 Giro and Tour, Hansen embarked on what would become a remarkable streak. Beginning with the 2011 Vuelta, Hansen has started and completed every grand tour since.
“I have had some good luck by avoiding crashes or getting sick,” Hansen said. “There have been some difficult years also. I won some stages. You have to be consistent.”
Just how extraordinary is Hansen’s feat?
Not counting rest days, if you strung 20 grand tours in a row, with an average of 21 stages, it would be the equivalent of racing 420 days straight. Or, about one year and two months of straight racing.
If you added up the kilometers — an average of 180km per stage x 21 stages per year — it would be about 75,000km. Or nearly 47,000 miles.
Hansen broke the previously held modern record held by Spanish all-rounder Mariano Lejarreta. who started and finished 12 grand tours in a row during a run the 1980s. (Spanish rider Bernardo Ruiz held the all-time record of 12-straight grand tours, but those were on shorter Vuelta routes that were not a full three weeks.)
A big difference between Hansen and Lejarreta was that the Spaniard was racing for GC while Hansen was a domestique and stage-hunter. And Lejarreta’s streak came when the Vuelta was held in April, so he would race three grand tours in a row over a four-month period.
That’s taking nothing away from Hansen’s achievement, however. Hansen won two stages during his streak and played a pivotal role in many of the team’s big wins, especially with star sprinter André Greipel.
Hansen, who has a varied background that includes designing a logistical software program used by his team as well as designing lightweight racing shoes, said he’s ready for new challenges.
Will he race another grand tour?
“That’s a good question,” he said. “I’d like to take a bit of a break and have the summer off. I might do 21, we’ll see.”