“I had a bit of a nightmare with my visa for China. I was heading to train in the UAE from Vienna airport, but I’d sent my Italian passport to Milan to get my visa for Guangxi,” Hansen wrote as part of a pro rider diary entry for Velon.
“I was travelling on my Australian passport and they couldn’t find the stamp for entering Europe. I said, ‘I entered on my Italian passport,’ and they said, ‘Well where is it?’ I said, ‘It’s in Milan at the Chinese embassy.’
“They said: ‘Well you’ve overstayed in Europe, so you get deported directly to Australia.’ They took me out the back and I was interviewed. They wanted to give me a €3,000 fine on top of deporting me.”
Next minute, Hansen found himself using his public profile to get himself out of a difficult situation.
“It was a bit stressful,” he wrote. “I didn’t like to use the line, but I said: ‘Google me, you’ll see I’m a cyclist and I’m going to race in China.’ They Googled me and let me go.”
According to Twitter, it's been business as usual for Hansen since the incident. In the last two weeks he's trained as planned in the UAE, caught up with Belgian team sponsor All Nuts and has continued to prepare for the Tour of Guangxi via autumn roads in the Czech Republic. No wonder it's hard for border control officials to keep up with him.
The Tour of Guangxi will be Hansen's first race since finishing the Vuelta a Espana in September.