The Mitchelton-Scott rider will end his career at his home race next season

Mathew Hayman has announced he is retiring from racing after his home race at the start of next season.

The Australian, who rides for Mitchelton-Scott, joined the pro peloton 19 years ago with the Rabobank Proteam.

Now the former Paris-Roubaix winner said he will leave the sport after the Tour Down Under next year, at the age of 40.

Hayman said: “The time has come for me to make a very difficult decision, one that I wrestled with for months, mainly out of fear of what my life would be like without being a professional athlete.

“Cycling has defined me for so long, but increasingly the other all-consuming constant in my life, my family, has been battling for my attention and they now need to be my priority.”

Hayman moved to from Rabobank to Team Sky in 2010, where he rode for four seasons before joining Australian team Mitchelton-Scott in 2014.

His biggest victory game in 2016 at the iconic velodrome in Roubaix, his 17th time racing the ‘Queen of the Classics’.

Hayman said: “I fell in love with Roubaix early in my career and it has at times felt that the race was just tormenting me.

“In 2016 I lifted a surprisingly heavy cobble above my head.

“It was the single proudest moment in my sporting career. A culmination of all the trying, learning and never quitting. Always keep riding.”

Hayman will be signing off his professional career in January 2019, his last race being the Tour Down Under.

He added: “To be an athlete at this level you have to be self-centred, selfish, driven, hungry (literally and figuratively) and spend most of your life tired.

“I look forward to freshening up and giving back to my biggest fans, the fans who don’t watch me race, couldn’t care less about my results, Harper, Noah and Elodie.

“Kym, my wife, has always been there for me behind the scenes, the longevity of my career can be attributed to her support of me and our family.”

Hayman paid special thanks to the Australian businessman Gerry Ryan, who owns Mitchelton-Scott, and his family.

He said: “I think his generosity to the sport has made it a fact that there is a pathway for any young Australian boy or girl who dreams of riding and winning the biggest races in the world, not only in this team but across sport.”