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PROfile: Adam Hansen’s Move to Triathlon

One of the most prolific ProTour cyclists now has his eyes on tri.

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Last year, Adam Hansen made waves in both the cycling and triathlon worlds when he raced Ironman Florida as an age-grouper, finishing 38th overall. The Aussie pro cyclist wasn’t a total newbie to triathlon—he raced as a teen growing up on Australia’s northeast coast in Cairns—but still his foray into long-course tri drew excitement from fans who wondered just how fast he’d be on the bike when it was sandwiched between a swim and a run.

Turns out, even when not in a pro peloton, he could ride pretty darn quick: His 4:15:23—which included time to stop and adjust a slipping seatpost—was the fourth fastest bike split of the day. And, despite limited time in the pool, he posted a respectable 58 minutes in the swim. And now, with more time on his feet—he’d never run more than 12 miles prior to Florida—Hansen hopes he can shave a big chunk of time off of his 3:37 marathon too.

His contract with the Lotto-Soudal pro cycling team expired at the end of 2020, and with it the 39-year-old plans on hanging up his cycling kit for good and focusing all of his attention on triathlon. Actually, Hansen said he’d already be racing tri by now if it weren’t for the pandemic. (He planned on racing among the pros at Ironman Panama in November, prior to its cancellation.)

Of course, it’s not like he doesn’t have the endurance chops: Hansen is the only rider to complete 20 consecutive Grand Tours, including the grueling Tour de France, the Giro d’Italia, and the Vuelta a España, winning stages in the latter two in 2013 and 2014. The question is: Can he swim and run at that same level?

After such a lengthy and prolific cycling career, Hansen is stoked about shifting to triathlon. He’s excited to tinker around with new technology—he designs and builds his own ultra-light cycling shoes, and has helped develop other gear like a motion-sensor bike computer. He’s also looking forward to competing more often, setting his sights on racing as many as nine Ironmans a year. (Based in the Czech Republic, he said there’s plenty of opportunities for him to race throughout Europe once COVID-19 restrictions ease up.) And, if nothing else, he’s ready to embrace what he sees as the more celebratory vibe of multisport.

“In cycling, when you’re on a team, it’s win or nothing. Second place isn’t something to celebrate,” Hansen said. “But in triathlon, it’s like everyone’s a winner. It’s a victory to get to the finish line. I like that.”

“But in triathlon, it’s like everyone’s a winner. It’s a victory to get to the finish line. I like that.”

How Adam Hansen Fuels

Morning: Wake up pretty late. (I am a night owl.) Black coffee.

Mid-morning: Start an endurance ride, which can range from five to eight hours long. The first four hours (at least) are in a fasted state; I only drink water to keep my insulin down and for maximum fat metabolism. After four hours, I eat a bar or a banana.

Post-ride: Something very sweet to create an insulin spike, putting my body in the most anabolic state to absorb protein faster. Then a Sanas Vegan protein shake.

Dinner: Two roasted sweet potatoes and a massive bowl of salad filled with nuts and seeds, with avocado- based dressing with chickpeas. No oil.

Dessert: Something to satisfy my sweet tooth, like a cashew-based cake I made–I love to cook and bake–or some agar agar treat (a jelly-like substance that comes from red algae).

“These food diaries depict a regular day in the life of various pro triathletes. They are not dietary recommendations.