MADRID (Reuters) - Australian Adam Hansen broke a 57-year-old record for the most consecutive grand tours when he completed his 13th in a row at the Tour of Spain on Sunday.
The Lotto-Soudal rider finished more than two hours behind winner Fabio Aru of Italy in 55th place but by finishing the race went one better than Spaniard Bernardo Ruiz, who rode twelve in a row in the 1950s.
Hansen, 34, began his personal odyssey at the 2011 Vuelta and went on to complete the Giro d'Italia, Tour de France and Vuelta in 2012, 2013, 2014 and 2015.
"This performance is definitely special and unique," Hansen said on the Belgian team's website.
"After each grand tour more and more people started talking about the record," he added.
"It didn’t become an obsession, but of course I’m proud that I could break the record."
Hansen said his hardest race was this year's Tour de France, when he was injured in a crash near the start but bravely soldiered on.
"Physically the Vuelta 2012 was the hardest, because that was the first time I rode the three grand tours in one season and I was exhausted," he said.
"If I will continue racing all Grand Tours? Until I fall off my bike.
"The only thing that’s a pity is that I can’t ride a lot of other nice races but who knows that might happen someday."
(Reporting by Iain Rogers, editing by Pritha Sarkar)