I’m keeping an eye on three riders at different stages in their careers. Firstly there’s the mighty Jens Voigt in the twilight of a storied career . I’m also 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, who specialises in Twitter and lead-outs, not necessarily in that order.
Jens Voigt (Radioshack-Leopard)
- Won one stage at Tour of California.
WorldTour ranking: N/A, 0 pts.
What can I say about Jens’ season so far? For somebody who is supposed to be on his last legs, those legs still seem to have a lot to say, as does Jens himself. And what does Jens say? “I’m mother##king Jens Voigt, you ain’t gonna catch me!” At least, that was the case in the Tour of California, when he found himself in the right place when a crosswind induced a split in the peloton with 50km. In typical fashion, he had a pop and managed to escape and hold on for a solo win which had most of us smiling almost as much as his subsequent interview, in which he proffered the above soundbite.
Jens went on to the Tour de France (via the Tour de Suisse) in similar fashion, and you know what? He only channelled Jimi Hendrix’s Voodoo Chile (“I’m standing next to a mountain, I chop it down with the edge of my hand”), and attacked the Alps. Quite what the Alps had done to incur Jens’ wrath is unclear, but he set about Double D’Huez Day (stage 18), and stage 20 to Annecy-Semnoz with the legs of a much younger man, and, cracking just short of the finish, was unlucky not to pick up more than just a combativity award.
Apparently, we’ve now seen the last Jens attack at the Tour, but there’s plenty of life in the old dog and we can say with some certainty that he will be still raising havoc on the roads next year.
Tejay van Garderen (BMC)
- 1st overall at Tour of California.
- Won individual time trial and 7th overall at Tour de Suisse.
- Honorary Panache award for beasting the Alpe d’Huez, TWICE, in the Tour de France.
WorldTour ranking: 32nd, 104 pts.
Tejay had a great Tour of California, taking the overall in a manner which had people wondering if he would get the nod over Cadel Evans as BMC leader for the Tour de France. He, like Jens Voigt, profited on stage 5, showing tactical astuteness to latch onto a RadioShack-led move which split the bunch, and bumped him into the leader’s jersey. The following day he put over a minute into his nearest rivals in the process of winning stage 6, a 31.6km individual time trial, and comfortably held the lead to the race’s conclusion.
A solid Tour de Suisse followed, in which he finished 7th overall. Along the way, he showed good legs again, narrowly missing out on victory in the queen stage where he was outsprinted by overall winner Rui Costa, and Belkin’s Bauke Mollema, both of whom went on to do very well in the Tour de France.
The quality of his performances in California and Switzerland led to high expectations for the Tour, and talk of Tejay possibly being a second option for BMC leader should Cadel Evans not be on form. However, in comparison to last year, he had a pretty poor race, as did the whole of the BMC team. That said, Tejay clung in there, and did manage to salvage some pride in the latter stages by hitting the Alpe d’Huez head on, almost coming away with a famous victory which instead was snatched by the wonderful Christophe Riblon after Tejay’s legs locked up in the closing kilometres. Nevertheless, the doffing of caps is in order for a gutsy ride, (which didn’t even falter after some crazy guy in a Speedo ran alongside him). [No idea who that was – not at all affiliated with VeloVoices. Ahem – Ed.]
We won the race two years ago. We certainly have the capability to win it again. We are just going to have to regroup and … take another crack at it again next year.
Despite the late rally, Tejay still finished up 45th overall and was the third-highest placed BMC rider behind Cadel Evans (39th), and Steve Morabito (35th), which fell well below expectations.
Reading between the lines, BMC team manager Jim Ochowicz seems to think that Tejay has the capability to be a Tour winner, and Cadel Evans in his post-race summing-up alluded to a likely focus on the young American as his replacement in next year’s Tour.
Adam Hansen (Lotto Belisol)
- Won one stage at Giro d’Italia.
- First rider to finish 72nd in back-to-back grand tours (possibly?).
- Has finished the last six consecutive grand tours, dating back to the 2011 Vuelta (definitely).
- Ant Award for ‘Most stylish ascent of Alpe d’Huez’ in the Tour de France.
WorldTour ranking: 101st, 16 pts.
Adam Hansen has had a pretty active few months, having ridden both the Giro d’Italia and Tour de France, and bizarrely finishing a respectable 72nd in each. The highlight of the two races has to be a popular stage victory in the Giro, when he outlasted his breakaway companions on a rain-drenched stage seven into Pescara, detaching the final escapee with 20km to go and stoically holding off the bunch to solo in for the win.
Additionally to that, he has continued to be an effective part of the much admired Lotto-Bellisol Gorilla Express, and has helped to deliver Andre Greipel to a string of high stage finishes, including a stage win over Sagan, Kittel, and Cavendish in Montpellier. With all of this work in his legs, it’s amazing that Hansen remains one of the funniest guys to follow out of the pro peloton. Photos of him tackling the Alpe d’Huez with a beer in hand, having earlier in the Tour (possibly) been out waving glow-sticks at a late night techno-party with the aforementioned Greipel give just a small insight into the character of this good-natured warrior.
— Adam Hansen (@HansenAdam) July 18, 2013
Previous update: 11th April.
Websites: Adam Hansen