Lotto-Soudal professional cyclist Adam Hansen has revealed how a visa mix-up resulting in border guards at Vienna airport threaten him with deportation to his native Australia.
The 38-year-old, who last month completed an unprecedented 19th Grand Tour in a row at the Vuelta a Espana, has homes in the UAE and the Czech Republic but holds an Italian passport as well as his Australian one.
In a blog post for Velon Hansen, who on Thursday starts the final UCI WorldTour event of the season, the Tour of Guangxi, revealed how his problem had been caused by his ownership of two passports.
“I had a bit of a nightmare with my visa for China,” he explained.
“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.
“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.
“It was a bit stressful,” added Hansen, who also revealed how he managed to avoid being forcibly put on a flight to Australia.
“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.”
Born in Scotland, Simon moved to London aged seven and now lives in the Oxfordshire Cotswolds with his miniature schnauzer, Elodie. He fell in love with cycling one Saturday morning in 1994 while living in Italy when Milan-San Remo went past his front door. A daily cycle commuter in London back before riding to work started to boom, he's been news editor at road.cc since 2009. Handily for work, he speaks French and Italian. He doesn't get to ride his Colnago as often as he'd like, and freely admits he's much more adept at cooking than fettling with bikes.