Matt Hayman: ‘If I beat Boonen in Paris-Roubaix, I’ll retire on Sunday’

Australian Mathew Hayman says that he may consider hanging up his wheels on the spot if he wins Paris-Roubaix for a second consecutive year

Matthew Hayman wins the 2016 Paris-Roubaix
(Image credit: Watson)

Thirty-eight-year-old Paris-Roubaix title holder Mathew Hayman has said he may retire on Sunday if he beats Belgian classics legend Tom Boonen to victory a second time.

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.”

>>> Paris-Roubaix 2017: Latest news and race info

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.

Matt Hayman with his coveted Paris-Roubaix cobble. Photo: Yuzuru Sunada
(Image credit: Yuzuru Sunada)

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.

>>> This is the Quick-Step line-up that will try and help Tom Boonen to a final Paris-Roubaix victory

“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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Having trained as a journalist at Cardiff University I spent eight years working as a business journalist covering everything from social care, to construction to the legal profession and riding my bike at the weekends and evenings. When a friend told me Cycling Weekly was looking for a news editor, I didn't give myself much chance of landing the role, but I did and joined the publication in 2016. Since then I've covered Tours de France, world championships, hour records, spring classics and races in the middle east. On top of that, since becoming features editor in 2017 I've also been lucky enough to get myself sent to ride my bike for magazine pieces in Portugal and across the UK. They've all been fun but I have an enduring passion for covering the national track championships. It might not be the most glamorous but it's got a real community feeling to it.