Veteran classics specialist Mathew Hayman has produced a masterful performance yesterday, sprinting to victory on the iconic velodrome of Paris-Roubaix, one of cycling’s five monuments.
The 37-year old returned for his 15th attempt at the ‘Hell of the North’, a race he has always declared unfinished business with, just five weeks after fracturing his right radius.
Spending the majority of the race in the front group Hayman used all of his experience to take the win ahead of four-time previous winner Tom Boonen (Etixx-Quickstep)
“I still can’t believe it,” said Hayman. “I’ve had enough bad luck in Paris-Roubaix in the last fifteen years. Everything went right today, I was in a good place mentally, I was relaxed and I was trying not to put pressure on myself.”
“With one kilometre to go I was thinking that I would be happy just to be on the podium. I had a feeling that my legs were pretty good and I was happy to ride with Tom (Boonen) until the finish line but then it all came back together for the last lap.”
“I’ve been riding some track recently after breaking my arm five weeks ago. My legs were feeling pretty good going into the finishing straight when I started my sprint, I could see Tom’s tyre underneath my arm but I managed to keep going.”
Hayman raced with intelligence throughout the day, part of the early group of over twenty riders that formed the day’s breakaway alongside teammate Magnus Cort. Hayman positioned himself expertly as the attacks began to spring in the finale.
Using his experience and his power, the 2006 Commonwealth Games champion stayed clear of the four chasers to become only the second Australian to win the ‘Queen of the Classics’.
Sport director Laurenzo Lapage was over the moon with the result and the performance of Hayman, a tireless leader and worker for the ORICA-GreenEDGE team.
“What an amazing ride,” said Lapage. “If there is one guy that you want to win this race it would be Mathew (Hayman), he has been waiting for a long, long time to get the right opportunity and he put in an outstanding performance to get the win.”
“The whole team rode very well throughout the race, we knew that if Mathew could stay up there at the front until the final then he had a good chance but we didn’t expect it to go so perfectly.”
“We can enjoy this moment now, it’s a special victory in a special race. Everyone in this team works so hard it’s great when it pays off in a race like Paris-Roubaix”
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