The Australian bagged the biggest win of his career at the Hell of the North last year when he led out a sprint finish and Boonen, one of a group of four contesting the win, was unable to come around him.
Boonen himself has said he will hang up his wheels after this Sunday’s race.
Speaking ahead of the 2017 edition, Hayman told Cycling Weekly: “I did tell everybody at the start of Flanders that if I beat Boonen again on Sunday then I’ll retire with him.”
However, the wily cobbles specialist added: “I might change my mind though.”
Hayman also said that there is a “pretty fair chance” he won’t win again on Sunday. “Out of my 15 years I’ve been pretty disappointed most times,” he said.
The Orica-Scott rider admitted that he did consider making retirement plans around the time his wife gave birth to twins over the winter. “It’s a job that requires a lot of dedication and you have to be fairly selfish. Having the twins was a bit of a hurdle like, what is that going to do to us?
“My wife has been tremendous at supporting me and the whole family. It [continuing riding] seems doable,” he said.
He added that while there are aspects of the sport “travelling, getting dropped, riding in the rain,” that he often dislikes the positives of working with a group of motivated young riders outweigh the negatives.
“I look forward to not being tired, maybe I’ll be more tired chasing three kids around than training. I’ve been fatigued for the last however many years but there’s a funny thing in the back of my mind that sees me racing next year.”
Hayman, who suffered a broken arm just weeks before last year's race, which compromised his preparation, said he still has “a bit of disbelief” that he has won Paris-Roubaix, even a year after he crossed the velodrome’s line in first place.
“I was fully aware I needed everything to come right. It’s a pretty unbelievable story, that you make the breakaway and win after coming here with no racing,” he said.
Turbo comes good
Orica-Scott go into Sunday’s race with several possible options for the win, while Hayman as defending champion is the obvious one Belgian Jen Keukeleire is another option ad Australian Luke Durbridge is a third.
Both Keukeleire and Durbridge have enjoyed stand-out classics campaigns this year. Keukeleire was second at Ghent-Wevelegem and Durbridge scored top 10s in E3 Harelbeke, Dwars Door Vlaanderen and Strade Bianche.
Durbridge, who is 25-years-old, said he has had a “great” classics campaign with “consistent” results. “I think I’ve set a new benchmark of what this time of year means, that its possible to get podiums and wins,” he said.
He added: “I think I wanted it to be my thing for a couple of years now but I didn’t have the results on the board… I’ve worked hard to get here.”
“Next season I want to podium in Flanders.”
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