Rider profiles: Jens Voigt, Tejay van Garderen and Adam Hansen

This season I’ve decided to keep an eye on three riders at very different stages in their careers. Firstly there’s the mighty Jens Voigt in what will quite probably be his final season. I’ll also be following young Tejay van Garderen after he single-handedly salvaged my Fantasy Tour de France team last year. The final member of my triumvirate is Adam Hansen, assuming he survives the Lotto-Belisol training camp.

Jens Voigt (Radioshack-Leopard)

Image courtesy of RadioShack-Leopard

Image courtesy of RadioShack-Leopard

Age: 41.

Nationality: German.

Role: Destroyer (Domestique).

2012 WorldTour ranking: 159th, 10pts.

2012 highlights:

  • Won one stage at USA Pro Cycling Challenge, 1st in mountains classification.
  • 2nd in one stage at Paris-Nice.

Why I’m following him:

It’s not really a secret that I’m a big fan of Jens. I admire his dedication to his teammates and his willingness to drive himself into the ground for the cause. He also strikes me as a great guy who doesn’t take himself too seriously, and is an absolute goldmine when it comes to Twitter.

His role as an enforcer somewhat limits his race victories. A 100km solo break to take stage four of the USA Pro Cycling Challenge was a rare success in 2012. However, he’s never far from the sharp end of the action and had a number of near misses over the course of the season including a second place to Luis Leon Sanchez in stage six of Paris-Nice. With this probably being his last season, I really hope to see the big man pick up a victory or two along the way.

Tejay van Garderen (BMC)

Image courtesy of BMC/Tim De Waele

Image courtesy of BMC/Tim De Waele

Age: 24.

Nationality: American.

Role: Technically a domestique, but strong enough to contend for major honours.

2012 WorldTour ranking: 32nd, 160 pts.

2012 highlights:

  • 5th overall at Tour de France, 1st in young rider classification.
  • 5th overall at Paris-Nice, 1st in young rider classification.
  • 2nd overall and won one stage at USA Pro Cycling Challenge.
  • 4th overall at Tour of California.
  • 4th in Road World Championships individual time trial.

Why I’m following him:

Tejay is a rider who is on the up after his fifth place at the Tour, where he even found himself taking over from Cadel Evans as BMC’s lead prospect in the latter stages. A fantastic 2012 saw him take the best young rider classification at both the Tour de France and Paris-Nice. He’s a strong time-trialist and can climb, so I’m expecting some good performances this season. In particular, I wouldn’t be surprised to see him on the podium at the Giro, assuming he goes for it. It will also be interesting to see how things pan out between him and Cadel if they are both on form, and I’ll be keeping an eye on how the team balances having these two talents in its ranks.

Adam Hansen (Lotto-Belisol)

Image courtesy of Lotto-Belisol

Image courtesy of Lotto-Belisol

Age: 31.

Nationality: Australian.

Role: Domestique.

2012 WorldTour ranking: Not ranked, 0 pts.

2012 highlights:

  • The only rider to complete all three Grand Tours in 2012 (and only the 32nd ever to do so).

Why I’m following him:

Another hard-working domestique, the fruits of Adam Hansen’s labour are not represented by victories against his name, but in his teammates’ successes, and you’ve only got to glance at Andre ‘Gorilla’ Greipel to get an idea of the sort of season he had. Competing in and completing all three Grand Tours, he put more miles into his legs than I care to contemplate, and as only the 32nd rider ever to do this, that’s a proud addition to anybody’s CV.

I feel compelled to follow a rider who managed to hit all three Grand Tours last season, and is planning to do the same this time around. This guy is moulded out of similar stuff to Jens Voigt, and is another tireless workhorse. I’m hoping that through following him, I will be able to pick up a good insight into what makes a team work, and what life is like for the unsung heroes. The clincher was the string of tweets from the Lotto-Belisol training camp which we previously featured in Tweets of the Week.

Websites: Adam Hansen

Twitter: @thejensie@TejayVan@HansenAdam 

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