• Adam Hansen (C) at the Tour Down Under Classic. (Getty)Source: Getty
Lotto Soudal feels like a new team to veteran pro Adam Hansen as he prepares for his 10th season with the squad that has undergone top-down change and ushered in new sprint leader Caleb Ewan.
Sophie Smith

Cycling Central
15 Jan 2019 - 9:10 AM  UPDATED 15 Jan 2019 - 9:14 AM

Hansen will officially commence the 2019 WorldTour season at the Tour Down Under from Tuesday, riding in support of Ewan, who is keen to assert himself and verify the newfound marquee status.

The 37-year-old Hansen for about a decade has worked with German sprinter Andre Greipel as part of a defined lead-out train that has now disbanded. Andre Greipel, Lars Bak and Marcel Sieberg are among the departed from the sprint squad, which Ewan now headlines.

The 24-year-old fast-man has brought Roger Kluge and Adam Blythe with him to aid the transition. Early indicators, including victory at Sunday’s Down Under Classic, suggest it has been smooth.

“The old core has all gone to different teams, which is a bit strange. You can feel it’s a totally different team now. It’s really like going to a different team,” Hansen said.

“All sprinters are different. [Ewan’s] got that hunger, which is good. He seems a bit more confident than Andre. In my opinion, Cav [Mark Cavendish] is still the most confident sprinter there is.

“There is a lot Caleb wants to show. Hopefully at the Tour Down Under he shows it.”

Lotto Soudal's plan for Ewan to excel
Lotto Soudal sports director Mario Aerts has outlined a plan to have Caleb Ewan mentioned in the same breath as the sprinting elite of the sport once the Australian joins the squad next year.

Ewan forecasts fierce TDU sprint battle
Caleb Ewan has forecast a fierce sprint battle at the Tour Down Under this year after winning the curtain raiser Classic on Sunday in which key rivals crashed.

Hansen this season will divide his time between working for Ewan as well as Tim Wellens. The Belgian Wellens, along with a change in general manager from Paul De Geyter to John Lelangue, influenced Hansen’s October contract extension with the outfit.

“Structure-wise it seems a bit more professional than previous years … it’s a good change,” Hansen said.

The Australian ended his record Grand Tour run in 2018, not competing in the Tour de France or Vuelta a España.

The Giro and Tour are both on the program for this season, however, in what is an altered race program designed to include Wellens’s objectives.

“Tim Wellens wants me to work a lot with him, which is the reason why I changed my program with Paris-Nice and Amstel, Fleche and Liege. I’m doing these races with him,” Hansen said.

Hansen also worked for Wellens last year, assisting him to a stage win at the Giro d’Italia.

“At the end of the season he was really asking for me to stay in the role, to stay in the team and work more with him,” he said. “It’s totally different for me.”

Giro honours Hansen's 20 grand tour streak
Giro organisers marked the end of the Australian's 20 grand-tour streak with a special podium celebration.