Hayman denies Tom Boonen historic win in Paris-Roubaix

Mathew Hayman (Orica-GreenEdge) caused a huge upset at Paris-Roubaix by beating Tom Boonen (Etixx-QuickStep) in a sprint finish. Hayman looked stunned, and almost unbelieving, by his victory, bursting into tears once he realised what he had achieved. Ian Stannard (Team Sky) tried to come around from the back of the group but didn’t quite have the legs and finished third.

At the start of the season, 37-year-old Mathew Hayman did nothing to hide that he was hoping to have one final big shot at the cobbled classics. With retirement looming on the horizon, the veteran knew that time was running out and he was hoping that 2016 would be his big year.

That made it a heartbreaking experience for the Australian when he crashed in Omloop Het Nieuwsblad and was left with a fractured radius in his arm. Initially, he was ruled out of the classics and it seemed that it would be no fairytale season for the Orica-GreenEDGE strongman.

Hayman recovered in time for the GP Miguel Indurain and Vuelta a la Rioja in the first weekend of April and he worked for his team in the two Spanish races. He managed to get fit in time to get selected for the final cobbled race Paris-Roubaix but he mainly lined up to support Jens Keukeleire and Luke Durbridge and had little to no personal expectations.

Nobody had expected Hayman to be a contender at the pointy end of the race and so he didn’t get much notice when he joined the early 16-rider break after a frantic start to the race. However, the Australian managed to hang on when the favourites arrived from behind and even survived the many attacks on the Carrefour de l’Arbre to make it into the five-rider group that sprinted for the win. Despite being up against renowned sprinters like Tom Boonen and Edvald Boasson Hagen, he shocked the entire cycling world, including himself, by coming out on top and claim only the second win of his career after the 2011 Paris-Bourges.

The sprint came at the end of a huge drama that started already before the race had hit the usual key sector at Trouee d’Arenberg. With 115km to go, a crash near the front of the field split the bunch and left just a select group of around 30 riders in front.

Tom Boonen, Edvald Boasson Hagen, Sep Vanmarcke, Ian Stannard and Luke Rowe were all on the right side of the split and Etixx-QuickStep and LottoNL-Jumbo decided to take the unexpected opportunity. With Tony Martin being the main locomotive, they quickly build an advantage of 1.30 over the main group which included pre-race favourites Fabian Cancellara and Peter Sagan.

With 45km to go, Cancellara slipped out while riding in third position behind Sinkeldam and De Backer and brought Terpstra down in the process. He got back on his bike but was out of the battle for the top results.

Sagan still tried to chase in his group but it was soon apparent that he would not get back. That left just the 10 strongest riders from the Boonen group and the original break to battle it out for the win as they hit the key sector of Carrefour de l’Arbre with 17km to go.

Paris-Roubaix 2016 results:

1 Mathew Hayman (Orica-GreenEdge)


2 Tom Boonen (Etixx – Quick-Step)


3 Ian Stannard (Sky)


4 Sep Vanmarcke (LottoNl-Jumbo)


5 Edvald Boasson Hagen (Dimension Data)


6 Heinrich Haussler (IAM) +01’00”
7 Marcel Sieberg (Lotto Soudal)


8 Aleksejs Saramotins (IAM)


9 Imanol Erviti Ollo (Movistar)


10 Adrien Petit (Direct Energie)