Hayman fights for 11th in title defence at Roubaix

Sun 9 Apr 2017

2016 champion Mathew Hayman has put in a spirited title defence to finish in 11th place at Paris-Roubaix today.

The ORICA-SCOTT leader fully committed to his ‘Always Keep Riding’ mantra as he fought back after a number of mishaps to enter the famous velodrome sprinting for sixth position.

Ahead, Greg van Avermaet (BMC Racing Team) took the victory ahead of Zdenek Stybar (Quickstep Team).

“It was roughly the same race as last year,” Hayman said. “I just tried to stay out of the carnage in the first 100km and, look, I just didn’t have it in the end.” 

“I missed the move on the Camphin-en-Pevele. I needed to be at the front there and for whatever reason I was having a bad patch.   

“It was good (to come back as defending champion). I’m always a little disappointed, I’m pretty hard on myself, but I always enjoy racing Roubaix.” 

Teammate Jens Keukeleire also did all of the right things, making the split Hayman missed, but unfortunately the Belgian suffered an untimely puncture that took him out of contention.

Sport director Laurenzo Lapage acknowledged the luck of the draw that Paris-Roubaix can present.

“We had a lot of bad luck today but, hey, that’s Paris-Roubaix,” Lapage said. “We were in the right positions and the right side of most of the splits so you can’t do any more than that.”

“If you think about this time last year, we had someone in a bad way in hospital. We can be thankful that we avoided a lot of the crashes and those who did come down are not too badly injured.” 

How it happened:

Dry conditions made for a fast start to the 2017 Paris-Roubaix with the peloton covering over 50km in the first hour of racing. 

Former Australian champion Luke Durbridge was involved in an early crash and was shortly after given a bike by teammate Sam Bewley before continuing on.

As riders approached the first sector of pave, three riders escaped narrowly off the front and as the build up promised, the first few sectors shook things up.

Crashes and mechanicals, including to ORICA-SCOTT’s Mitch Docker, saw the race finally break up. 

As the race reached the Arenberg three riders had an advantage ahead a reduced peloton which contained the main favourites and defending champion Hayman.

Belgian Jens Keukeleire re-joined to give ORICA-SCOTT two riders in the main bunch before world champion Peter Sagan lit up the race and broke it apart again.

An untimely puncture took Keukeleire out of contention after he made the next split with the favourites as Hayman recovered to join the second chase group with retiring Tom Boonen (Quickstep Floors). 

The front two groups joined in a dramatic finish on the velodrome but van Avermaet was too strong in the sprint as the Hayman group sprinted for sixth place behind.

Paris-Roubaix Results:

1. Greg Van Avermaet (BMC Racing Team) 5:41:07
2. Zdenek Stybar (Quickstep Team) ST
3. Sebastian Langeveld (Cannondale Drapac) ST
11. Mathew Hayman (ORICA-SCOTT) +0:12

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