Mathew Hayman: “It would have been nice to get one or two sections further”
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Monday, April 08, 2013

Mathew Hayman: “It would have been nice to get one or two sections further”

by Ben Atkins at 1:39 PM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Spring Classics, Paris-Roubaix
 
Team Sky’s Australian hardman reflects on a hard, but fruitless, day in Paris-Roubaix

mathew haymanVery few meaningful breakaways were allowed to get free of the peloton in yesterday’s Paris-Roubaix, as the RadioShack-Leopard team of eventual winner Fabian Cancellara kept a tight hold of the race. The one meaningful escape came mid-race, containing Mathew Hayman (TeamSky), which had been part of the British team’s strategy of making things difficult for the Swiss outstanding favourite.

“We said we weren’t going to wait for Fabian, and that we were going to try and force the issue,” Hayman told VeloNation at the Velodrome afterwards. “You always know that if you get that break then you can go a long way, but when the bunch came…

Hayman escaped with Gert Steegmans (Omega Pharma-Quick Step), Clément Koretzky (Bretagne-Séché) and 2007 race winner Stuart O’Grady (Orica-GeenEdge) on the cobbles between Vertain and St-Martin-sur-Écaillon, shortly before the race’s halfway point. Hayman and Steegmans eventually dropped O’Grady and Koretzky, and were later joined by Michael Schär (BMC Racing) and Damien Gaudin (Europcar); as Cancellara accelerated into the final 50km of the race, however, they were caught by the front of the crumbling peloton.

The Australian was unable to match his eighth place from last year’s race, or his tenth from 2011, but had fulfilled his role in the Team Sky plan to make the race hard for others.

“We had a few different opportunities, and any one of us could have been in that break,” he explained. “It was just a matter of making sure that guys were in the move, but Fabian still won I guess.”

Cancellara had been isolated from his team shortly before he accelerated with just under 50km to go, but the Swiss powerhouse managed to use his experience in the race - as well as the misfortune of some of his rivals - to win his third edition of the race.

“That was good,” said Hayman about Cancellara’s isolation. “That was what we were trying to do; to try and isolate him as best we could, but it didn’t seem to work out.

“In the end the other teams aren’t just going to let guys ride away, there’s always going to be other teams that are going to chip in when they feel like they’re on the back foot. So it wasn’t 100% everyone riding against Fabian.”

Having put Hayman up the road the Team Sky plan was for its leaders to have a relatively comfortable time in the peloton behind him. Sadly for the British team, however, when the action started none of its big riders were present.

“We tried, we tried to get out there to jump the gun,” said Hayman. “It would have been nice to get one or two sections further but, to be honest, I was finished.

“I was up the front, I didn’t really know what was going on,” the Australian explained. “It’s a shame; I expected Edvald [Boasson Hagen] and Ian [Stannard] to be there and, as soon as I was caught on Mons-en-Pévèle - I knew that when that happened that the guys were a bit too far back.”

So far this season Team Sky’s Tour squad has been enjoying similar success to last year, with Chris Froome taking the Tour of Oman and Criterium International, Richie Porte taking Paris-Nice, as well as Froome, Geraint Thomas, Porte and Sergio Henao’s podium spots in the Santos Tour Down Under, Tirreno-Adriatico and the Vuelta al Pais Vasco.

In contrast, the Classics squad just has Hayman’s third place in the Dwars door Vlaanderen to show for a campaign of aggressive racing. Some of the lack of success can be attributed to bad luck - with Thomas crashing at crucial points in Milano-Sanremo, the Ronde van Vlaanderen and Paris-Roubaix - but this is not the only factor, Hayman thinks.

“Luck? I don’t know,” he said. “We just keep coming up against Fabian and [Peter] Sagan in the last few weeks. It’s not for want of trying.”

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