Mathew Hayman: team man to the end

Mitchelton-Scott sports director Matt White says they won't be changing the game plan just because it's Mathew Hayman's final Australian road championships on Sunday.

And he says Canberra's champion cyclist wouldn't want it any other way.

Canberra cyclist Mathew Hayman will feature in his final national road championships on Sunday.

Canberra cyclist Mathew Hayman will feature in his final national road championships on Sunday. Credit:EPA

Hayman has spent two decades riding professionally and in recent years has become an integral par of Mitchelton-Scott as the team captain.

The road race will be Hayman's final nationals before he signs off at the Tour Down Under the following week.


The 40-year-old has never won a national title and his childhood friend White doesn't expect that to change at his final tilt in Ballarat.

"Nothing is really going to change because it's his last race, we've got a team built around a purpose of going back to back and he plays an important role in that," White said.

"He'll take the usual captain on the road role, but it's a little different this year because our team doesn't have a sprinter to bring the race back for, so we're expecting a really tough and close race.

"It's probably the most open championship for us weve ever had, we've got a lot of guys in good shape and we're keen on rolling the dice with a few guys, it will be an interesting game of chess."

Hayman is a former Paris-Roubaix winner and White admits he tried to get his old friend back to the famous cobblestoned race this year.

But Hayman called curtains and White admitted he could relate to his old friend.

"My relationship with Matt goes back a long way, I'm only a bit older and raced against him growing up, we came from the same generation," White said.

"We represented Australia at the same world championships over the years and I raced against him elsewhere then I've been working with him for five or so years.

"He can be an emotional bloke and wears his heart on his sleeve. The biggest critic of Mat Hayman is Mat Hayman and that's what made him a special athlete.

"He asks as lot of himself and the young ones on the team see that and when you have a guy like that it has a positive effect on the culture of the team.

"Itll be a special week for him that's for sure, having gone through same thing 11 years ago, when you know you're finishing up, it is special and I was lucky enough to finish my career in Australia.

"It's something we all go into with different emotions, but he knows were going in on a mission to win and he's has been on that mission for 20 years.

"I tried to talk him into going to Paris-Roubaix again but he was ready to finish at the end of year, it's a great way for him to finish his career at home in one of Australia's premier races."

Eamonn Tiernan is a sports reporter with The Canberra Times

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