As the significance of Mathew Hayman’s astonishing Paris-Roubaix win continues to resonate across the cycling world, the history witnessed early on Monday morning is slowly sinking in for Mat Hayman, Orica GreenEDGE and Australian Cycling.
Hayman appeared incredulous, shocked and almost dumbfounded after crossing the line.
Seconds earlier he had completed the astonishing feat of pipping Tom Boonen in the 2016 edition of the the race Boonen has dominated for the past decade.
It would have been Boonen’s 5th win of the hazardous 260km route that could easily be confused with an MTB or CX course.
Hayman has made it well known over the years the Paris-Roubaix has been one of his highlights of the racing calendar.
His 15th start just a few days shy of his 38th birthday, he proved that persistence pays off, so long as three simple words are strictly adhered to. Never. Give. Up. Or, in his own words, “Always Keep Riding”.
As cycling history was being written in northern France, the team at SBS Cycling delivered the action to a surging number of viewers across Australia.
With Matthew Keenan and Robbie McEwan providing the commentary, Aussie cycling legend and two-time top 10 Paris-Roubaix finisher Henk Vogels joined Mike Tomalaris in the studio for real-time race analysis.
From Bathurst to Roubaix
Proving they not only talk the talk but indeed walks the walk, Henk Vogels and 'Tommo' spent the Roubaix weekend in Bathurst with members of the Bike Bug CocoWhip JML Racing Team for the B2B Cycling Festival. Henk's is JML Racing's Performance Director and Mike Tomalaris, along with Mathew Hayman himself, are inaugural JML Racing team ambassadors!
Peloton Cafe had the pleasure of speaking with Mike Tomalaris following Hayman’s huge win. Here is some on-bike video footage from the race followed by Tommo's take on proceedings.
Mike Tomalaris thanks for speaking with Peloton Cafe, what does Hayman’s victory mean for Aussie cycling?
“Mat Hayman has done Australian cycling a huge favour, he has injected so much life into the sport and really got people watching and talking about world cycling. Cycling is booming - there are a lot of new people to the sport who are asking 'what is this Roubaix race all about?' They have been completely inspired by not just his performance but this truly amazing event.
“I believe it’s the most unique one-day sporting event in the world and I’m sure many would agree.”
“Think about this: Which athlete would want to race 260 km on cobbled roads built 200 years ago? Who would want to put their season in jeopardy for just 6 hours of racing? What world sporting event presents a cobble as its main prize?.
“There is so much history around this utterly unique and incredibly challenging event. Aussie fans are starting to fall in love with its romanticism and that’s what makes it all the more special.”
Over two decades you and SBS have done an enormous amount for Australian Cycling, how are viewers reacting after this latest milestone?
“Hayman has done us a huge favour and yes, viewing numbers are very high. In fact SBS 2 (who showed the race) out-rated SBS1, our prime channel, on Sunday night.
“For me its another example of continuing to get the message out that world cycling is so popular and TV audiences are really appreciating what we’re delivering. This has been proven by what we saw on Sunday.
“Our Cycling Central website and social media channels have been swamped this week. The audience love what they are getting and we are thrilled to be able to deliver across our platforms exactly what they want. People are still talking about it and it looks like they will be for some time. The hits we are getting are comparable to an Aussie winning a stage of the Tour!
How was that final kilometre in the SBS studio?
“There was an absolute roar, Henk was yelling and pulling my arm, he is a real fan. Roubaix runs through Henk’s veins, he has been there and finished in the top 10 twice, there was a huge roar of celebration then we had to try compose ourselves before going on air.
Watching it back it strikes me, from start to finish, as ‘the perfect race’ your thoughts?
“To be honest I thought with 20 to 30 kilometres to go Hayman was setting up the win for Luke Durbridge.
“When you think about it Hayman is a veteran at nearly 38 years of age. We thought he was setting it up but in the end two Aussies finished in the top six, it was absolutely extraordinary.
After the win Hayman was in shock, he had to be told “this is real mate” …
“Yes he was caught by surprise. His reaction reflected everyone else's reactions. Especially the fact he had Boonen beside him, a four time winner who was favourite for a 5th win. That’s what makes the whole story so outstanding, it really is extraordinary.
Where do you see OGE in the future and how does this help define the team’s position on the world stage?
“This team has developed extraordinarily well in its first 4 seasons. It is not their first monument and wont be their last.
“What they haven't yet done is present a Grand Tour challenger but they've got that rider in the Colombian, Esteban Chaves.
“If Chaves can finish in the top 5 of the Tour, and I believe he can, this will be another huge step for OGE.
“What they now need to do is bring Chaves to Australia. We want to reach out, welcome him and get to know him. Fans and followers need to let him know we are right behind him in this years’ biggest bike race, the Tour de France.”
Mike Tomalaris, thanks for your time and we look forward to your continued coverage on SBS as the season progresses.
“Thanks Nat and again a huge congratulations to Matty Hayman who has done his country proud and taken Aussie cycling to another level and even wider audience."
SBS Will screen a 1 hour replay of Hayman’s historic Paris-Roubaix win at 4pm on Sunday 17th of April.