What’s with these Australian super-cyclists moving to triathlon? On Friday Adam Hansen, who is racing for Lotto Soudal at the Giro d’Italia, announced that he’s looking to focus on Ironman racing next year.
In an interview with the Cyclingnews podcast, Hansen, who has been racing at WorldTour events since 2007 and has won stages at both the Giro and the Vuelta a Espana (Tour of Spain), announced he was “going to change sports.”
“I did one last year and I’ve always wanted to go into Ironman after cycling, so it’s always something that I wanted to do but I’ve enjoyed cycling so much that I kept continuing but as I’m getting older I know that I’m running out of years,” Hansen said in the interview. “I did Ironman Florida last year for the experience and I really enjoyed it. I was considering making the switch this year but I did another year (of road racing) but this was always in the works and around March I made the final decision.”
In Panama City Beach last November Hansen finished eighth in the 35 to 39 age category with a 9:05:54 finishing time. He put together a 58:04 swim split, followed that up with a scorching 4:15:23 bike split, and rounded out his effort with a 3:37:02 marathon.
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Like Wurf, who signed with Ineos Grenadiers earlier this year, Hansen is renowned as a hard working support member on the teams he’s ridden for, a trait that he feels helps when it comes to triathlon.
“I think this will really suit a rider like me, a workhorse who can work on the front all day,” he told Cyclingnews. “That’s what an Ironman athlete really does.”
The “workhorse” moniker certainly seems to fit Hansen, who raced in 20 Grand Tours in a row between 2011 and 2018, a record. Just two weeks after the Giro he’s planning on competing at Ironman Portugal-Cascais.
Since focusing on Ironman racing Wurf has taken a three Ironman titles (Ironman Wales, Ironman Italy and Ironman Australia) and has set the bike course record in Kona a couple of times. Last year he finished fifth on the Big Island and was also third at Challenge Roth.
Other pro cyclists who have set their sites on Ironman racing
The 2008 Olympic silver medalist in the time trial, Emma Pooley went on to win the world title in 2010. She turned to multisport racing in 2014, winning the ITU world duathlon championships at Powerman Zofingen, setting a new course record in the process. She defended that title a year later, and also took ninth at the Ironman Asia-Pacific Championship in Melbourne and won the Embrunman triathlon.
It’s hard to say if this Swiss star was a cyclist who turned to triathlon or a triathlete who embarked in cycling. She’s a four-time Ironman champion including wins in France (2002), Switzerland (2005 and 2010) and Lanzarote (2006). She also claimed many 70.3 titles and took the silver medal at the 2011 Ironman 70.3 World Championship. She was a two-time world time trial champion and took the bronze medal at the 2004 and 2008 Olympic games in teh same event.
The American star burst onto the triathlon scene in 2012 with a runner-up finish to New Zealand Olympic medalist Bevan Docherty at Ironman 70.3 Panama. He won Ironman 70.3 Florida a few months later, then followed that up with a record-setting performance in taking Ironman 70.3 Hawaii. His full-distance debut was to happen at Ironman Nice, but just before the race the blood-doping charges that would eventually see him stripped of all his Tour titles were brought forward by the United Stats Anti-Doping Agency.
The American, a former team-mate of Lance Armstrong on the Motorola cycling team, won his first Ironman attempt in Lake Placid in 2001. He followed that up with a top-10 performance in Kona that year, too. Larsen passed away in 2009, apparently from viral or allergy issues.
Another former team-mate of Armstrong, McRae actually beat the disgraced Tour champion at the 1992 US Amateur Championships. His pro cycling career started in 1996 and saw him race for Mapei and U.S. Postal Service. He ended up with a few top-10 Ironman finishes during his pro triathlon career that spanned from 2003 to 2006.
The German rode for Team Telekom from 1993 to 2005. He competed at Ironman Lanzarote in 2006 and would eventually work for Ironman in Europe for a year before returning to cycling management. Aldag admitted to using EPO during his race career in 2007.
After racing for Team Telekom from 1996 to 2003, the German turned his athletic sights on Ironman. He finished 16th (and first amateur) at the 2004 Ironman World Championship, and took fourth as a pro at Ironman Austria in 2007.
Last year the 45-year-old from Kazakhstan took the age-group wins at both the Ironman 70.3 and Ironman world championships. The 2012 Olympic gold medalist also competed in Kona in 2018, finishing seventh in his age category that year. His participation in the sport has not come without some controversy – in 2007 Vinikourov tested positive for blood doping.
The former Tour of Spain champion from France also took his age category at last year’s 70.3 world championships in Nice, then followed that up with a runner-up finish in the men’s 50 to 54 category in Kona, improving on his fifth-place finish in Hawaii the year before.
After nine years with Slipstream sports (from 2011 to 2017 the team was called Garmin-Cervelo), the American turned to triathlon, winning his first race, an Olympic-distance race in California in 2018. During his cycling career he finished fifth at the Vuelta (Tour of Spain) and third at the Tour of California. Later that year he took eighth at his Ironman debut in Canada, but struggled to duplicate those results at a number of Ironman races in 2019 where he struggled through the marathon to 10+hour finishes.