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Peloton veteran Mathew Hayman announces retirement

Joe Robinson
18 Sep 2018

Another of cycling's old guard hangs up their bike for good as 2016 Roubaix champion, Hayman, calls time on career

After a career that has spanned 20 seasons, Mitchelton-Scott's Mathew Hayman has decided to hang up his bike in 2019. The Australian announced his decision in an emotional open letter that paid tribute to all those who supported him through his long career that spread across three teams.

In the letter, 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.

'I have long forgotten what it’s like to not have a race programme. 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.'

The 40-year-old then went on to state that he had spent 19 years looking forward to the next race but that he had now 'enjoyed far too many hours on far too many team buses.'

The rider also thanked the support of his wife, Kym, and 'the fans who don't watch me race, couldn't care less about my results' kids, Harper, Noah and Elodie.

Hayman was also sincerely complimentary for the work the team boss Gerry Ryan had done to establish an Australian squad in both the men's and women's WorldTour, saying '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 the sport.' 

At the age of 40, Hayman will enjoy his final curtain call riding his home Tour Down Under in January 2019. 

Hayman will be remembered as one of the peloton's most loyal domestiques across his long career that started with Dutch team Rabobank, back in 2000. 

After 10 seasons with Rabobank, Hayman then joined Team Sky for its launch in 2010, already at the age of 31. Four seasons followed with the British team until he moved over to home team Orica-GreenEdge in 2014, the squad Hayman is best associated with.

Proceeding to spend six seasons as the team's road captain, often sacrificing himself for others, Hayman will be most fondly remembered by the public for the only major victory he managed throughout his career, the 2016 Paris-Roubaix.

Hayman had attempted to win the fabled Cobbled Classic on 14 occasions by this point, managing only 8th as his best result in 2012.

His Orica-BikeExchange team, however, stuck by him with this goal that could have realistically never come.

Yet despite an early season arm fracture that saw him off the bike, the stars aligned with Hayman taking one of the most emotional and well-deserved victories of the modern era.

Beating Roubaix legend Tom Boonen in the sprint, Hayman became just the second Australian ever to take victory in the velodrome at the end of one the most memorable editions of the race. 

Hayman remembered this win in his letter, calling it 'the single proudest moment' of his sporting career.

'I fell in love with Roubaix early in my career and it has at times felt that the race was just tormenting me. Seventeen times I raced from Compiègne to Roubaix and every single time it was an amazing day, but in 2016 I lifted a (surprisingly heavy) cobble above my head,' said Hayman.

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

The moment in which he crossed the line was captured, as well as the whole race, in his team’s fly-on-the-wall YouTube series, Backstage Pass, leading to one of the most emotive 19-minutes of cycling content ever.