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.”
Simon joined road.cc as news editor in 2009 and is now the site’s community editor, acting as a link between the team producing the content and our readers. A law and languages graduate, published translator and former retail analyst, he has reported on issues as diverse as cycling-related court cases, anti-doping investigations, the latest developments in the bike industry and the sport’s biggest races. Now back in London full-time after 15 years living in Oxford and Cambridge, he loves cycling along the Thames but misses having his former riding buddy, Elodie the miniature schnauzer, in the basket in front of him.