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 has been news editor at road.cc since 2009, reporting on 10 editions and counting of pro cycling’s biggest races such as the Tour de France, stories on issues including infrastructure and campaigning, and interviewing some of the biggest names in cycling. A law and languages graduate, published translator and former retail analyst, his background has proved invaluable in reporting on issues as diverse as cycling-related court cases, anti-doping investigations, and the bike industry. He splits his time between London and Cambridge, and loves taking his miniature schnauzer Elodie on adventures in the basket of her Elephant Bike.