The Tour Down Under has seen Jens Voigt soaking up the plaudits in his last ever appearance at the race, but the 2014 edition has also potentially unearthed his next successor as a fans favourite throughout the world: Adam Hansen.
Hansen, from Queensland, finished his home race as the King of the Mountains and finished 9th on GC, 37 seconds down on Simon Gerrans.
"It's been very good for our team," Hansen told Cyclingnews immediately after teammate Andre Greipel outsprinted the field on Stage 6 – his second of the week and 16th of his career to extend his lead of stage wins at the Tour Down Under. "We've got two firsts, two seconds and a fourth, and I finished in the top 10 on GC. It's been a good week for sure."
The 32 year old is known throughout the peloton as being a loyal domestique for Lotto Belisol and for completing 7 straight Grand Tours.
"It is better I do stage races than single day races," said the 2013 Giro d'Italia stage seven winner. "I have very good recovery so it works out well. I like being in repetition. Mentally it is very simple, you just go out there and race, race, race and then go home, relax, chill and start over again. I like it like that."
Hansen is used to his popularity by now and he embraces it.
"The fans in cycling are truly great and have been really good to me," he said. "People want to reach out and touch the riders, and at races like this they can do just that – it's fantastic."
He, like many, is also a fan of the one and only Jens Voigt:
"I always liked Jens as I always related to him as a rider," Hansen told Cyclingnews. "I always said three years ago I would retire when he retires and now he is 42-years-old so that means I have another 10 more years in my career. We are almost the same height, same weight and same style of rider," he added. "In some ways I think we are closely matched except I am 10 years younger."
We have no doubt that the Jensie, as Voigt is affectionately known, would approve of Hansen too.
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