Adam Hansen is still going strong… somehow
Last year, Adam Hansen won a stage of the Giro and I took the opportunity to draw attention to an even more staggering feat – he was riding his fifth Grand Tour in a row. You may be wondering whether he’s since maintained that sequence and the answer is yes. He hasn’t missed any of the last 10 three-week races and if he lasts a couple more days, he will have finished them all.
On stage 19 of the Vuelta, Hansen took advantage of a late, uncategorised climb to distance himself from the bunch and then he just kept on going, all the way to the finish. He was perhaps also helped by the fact that rival teams had no real interest in chasing him down only to be beaten in the sprint by John Degenkolb, while Degenkolb himself only had one team-mate left after an earlier, steep climb left the peloton less than half its normal size.
If it’s late in a Grand Tour and late in a stage, it takes a full peloton to win an endurance competition against Adam Hansen.
A dog. An absolute dog. Here’s the profile. That final climb is 12.7km at 8.7% and that’s also one of those deceptive averages which masks far steeper sections. Really the race should be settled by now, but once again it should all kick off between the overall contenders.