ADAM Hansen has the distinction of being the first Australian cyclist to complete the three grand tours – Tour de France, Giro d’Italia and Vuelta Espana – in the same year.
He is hoping he can carry over this form from last year and turn it into a major outcome in the men’s road race in the Mars Cycling Australia Road National Championships at Buninyong on Sunday, January 13.
The 31-year-old finished fourth in a brutal road race at last year’s titles, being one of just 21 of the 140 starters to finish the 163 kilometres.
In what was a massive year, Hansen also contested the road race at the world championships in the Netherlands.
Despite a taxing year physically and mentally, Hansen will once again use Australia’s greatest one-day race as a catapult to the start of a new season.
“I am feeling good, have been looking after myself and in the next few days I’ll work on picking up the intensity to find some speed, to get ready for the nationals,” Hansen told Cycling Australia.
“Although my form will be hard to judge, because I have done three grand tours, I think that it will be a positive thing.”
Since claiming the 2008 national time trial title at Buninyong, Hansen has come agonisingly close to adding a road jersey.
He has had three top four finishes, including two podium appearances.
The most infamous of these was 2009 when Victoria’s unheralded Peter McDonald outfoxed Hansen and his then Columbia-Highroad team-mate Mick Rogers inside the last few kilometres to take the victory.
“For me, to wear the green and gold jersey in Europe has been one of the main goals I’ve ever had in my career,” Hansen said.
“All the European riders always say the Australian jersey is definitely one of the nicest national champions jerseys you can wear in the peloton.
“So it would be great if I could wear that, and I would hope to honour it very well in Europe,” he said.
Hansen will line up against the cream of Australia’s male road riders including the trio that finished ahead of him in 2012 in defending champion Simon Gerrans, Matthew Lloyd and Richie Porte.
“The road nationals are becoming more important for Australian pros who race in Europe because we have to be in top form.
“I just hope I have the foundation in my legs and when the last few laps come up in Ballarat, I will be able to handle the run home.”