If the codewords ?Hansen-Hansen-Hansen? ever crackle through on the Columbia race radio during the Tour, Adam Hansen knows he?s got to find team-mate Mark Cavendish – and fast.
Hansen is Mark Cavendish?s designated ?shadow? in the Tour peloton – even down to having a ?panic button? code should the Briton urgently need him.
?He?s got a special radio call for me if he needs something,? Australian Hansen told Cycling Weekly at the stage five start at Cholet.
?What usually happens is when a rider panics he yells and screams and you don?t understand.?
?So if Mark just says one word, then I know it?s him not another rider or a sports director and it?s time to follow him.?
The codeword is Hansen – his surname.
?Everyone calls me by my first name and I told Mark to say Hansen three times and I?d know he has a problem and I?d look for him.?
Hansen and Cavendish first met during a team training camp when the team was still T-Mobile.
?I remember him as the guy with the green fluorescent earring,? says Cavendish. ?We were both a little bit outside of things at the time, and that helped me to talk to him.?
Fast forward 12 months and the two are working closely on the bike as well as getting along off the bike as well.
?He?s perfect for me as a team-mate. He?s so strong and he?s great for getting me through the bunch,? Cavendish says.
Cavendish and Hansen have already worked well during the Giro d?Italia (pictured) and Cavendish specifically requested that Hansen be part of the Tour line-up. His request was heeded.
?I always try and make sure he?s in front of me, it doesn?t matter if he?s one metre in front of me or 20 guys in front of me. If something goes wrong I know not to pass him,? Hansen says.
?If he goes down then I know I?ve got to be there and bring him back.?
And as for that code-word?
?He hasn?t had to press the panic button yet. And that?s good.?
Team Columbia behind Cavendish for Tour stage five
|TOUR DE FRANCE 2008: STAGE REPORTS|
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|TOUR DE FRANCE 2008: NEWS|
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|TOUR DE FRANCE 2008: PHOTOS|
|TOUR DE FRANCE 2008: GUIDE|