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Hansen pushes hard for Tour stage win
Roger Vaughan
13:19 AEST Sat Jul 21 2012

CHATEAUROUX-DEOLS, France, July 21 AAP - Adam Hansen made a mighty effort to send his Mum the ultimate get-well gesture.

The Australian Lotto-Belisol rider was prominent in stage 18 of the Tour de France, initiating a late attack which survived until the last kilometre to eventually finish 23rd, just a few seconds behind stage winner Mark Cavendish.

It continued an outstanding Tour for Hansen, who has worked for Belgian team leader Jurgen Van den Broek and German sprint ace Andre Greipel.

Hansen is the sort of dependable, consistent domestique who is the bedrock of any successful cycling team.

But it has not been all positive for the Hansen family at the Tour.

Adam's mother Gelma, who is in France to support her son, has been in hospital after breaking two bones in her lower leg.

"She hurt herself three days ago ... she had it operated on two days ago and she gets out today," Hansen said on Friday after his heroics.

"She's in good shape, she's watching the Tour on TV.

"I will see her tomorrow and then Monday, I'll drive her to my house."

Hansen was in a 16-man break that dominated the second half of the 222.5km stage from Blagnac to Brive-la-Gaillarde.

With 20km left, he knew the gap to the peloton was dropping fast and he decided to go on the offensive.

"I didn't have a radio, so I didn't know what was happening," Hansen said.

"I thought 'okay, I have to give everything now'."

He soon had company at the head of the race and Hansen was seen having an animated debate about tactics with Kazakh Alexandre Vinokourov.

"I couldn't see the three guys behind and I thought Jelle (teammate Jelle Vanendert) would have been there, so I was playing the cards ... I'm not going to pull," he said.

"He wasn't too happy about that, but that's racing - he was driving on the front on the climbs and I wasn't happy about that either."

In the end, Cavendish swept past them for the stage win, but Hansen's attempt only added to his solid reputation.

He has played a key role in Greipel winning three stages during this Tour and Van den Broeck holding fourth overall.

"It's good when you try everything, give it everything and have a chance," he said.

"It was close, but not close enough.

"Obviously I'm happy with my Tour so far."