Painful finish for Sachsen Tour winner Matt Hayman
By Jeff Jones
27 year-old Australian rouleur Mathew Hayman (Rabobank) scored the biggest win of his career in the Sachsen Tour last Sunday, but at the same time managed to sideline himself for several weeks after breaking his collarbone in a finish line crash. Fortunately for Hayman, the crash happened inside the final kilometre and he did not suffer a time penalty, but all the same, it was a painful way to finish what was a great tour for him and his team.
"I'm not exactly sure what happened," Hayman explained to Cyclingnews from his home in Lanaken, Belgium, on Wednesday. "On GC, there were a few guys within a few seconds of each other. So we let a group of 13 go up the road and controlled the race. Coming into the finish, we couldn't let any of the GC guys go in case they got a gap [Hayman only had a 3 second lead to defend], so my teammates just wound it up for a sprint. One guy pulled off at 500 metres, another guy came past and said 'come on', but he had two guys from Wiesenhof on his wheel and they didn't want to let me in. That was at about 300 metres to go, and it was uphill into a bit of a headwind. People started sprinting past me for 14th, and before I knew it, I was lying on the ground!
"I knew I had broken my collarbone straight away. No HEW classic, no Benelux Tour, and probably no Vuelta. I wasn't even able to go to the ceremony after the race. I was thinking 'this is unreal' - I was all bandaged up, they were playing the national anthem, and I was already getting into the team car. I got changed at the airport and was operated on Monday at 11:00am in Amersfoort. They put a plate in with screws, and said that after three or four days - as long as I can tolerate it - I can start on the home trainer."
Hayman said that he also had a lot of skin taken off his back and a small amount of bruising on his hip, but remained optimistic that he could get back in shape again fairly quickly. And although he couldn't savour the final victory on the podium in Dresden, he had the satisfaction of knowing that it was his. "At least I won, so I'm pretty happy about that," he said. "No-one can take that away from me."
After finishing fourth in the six man lead group in Stage 1, Hayman explained how he rode into the yellow jersey on Stage 4 between Görlitz and Sebnitz, a windy, hilly leg over 168 km. "I was one second behind on GC before that," he said. "We decided that we'd try to control the race. The first sprint was after 25 km, and we controlled it to there, but I didn't get time back. After that there was some crosswinds, and we had been racing so hard that the bunch split a bit and we were left with maybe 30 guys. At the second sprint I took second place [two seconds], then I got two seconds in the next sprint as well. So I was three seconds ahead on GC.
"We had a few laps to finish, and it was a really hard circuit. [Allan] Johansen won that stage, and we [the GC riders] were attacking each other. I was just trying to follow them." Hayman finished 12th on that stage, but didn't lose any time to his main rivals, and thus found himself in the lead with just one stage to go.
"The whole team rode so well on the last day to control it - we never got in any bad situations, so that was awesome. I was going pretty well, which I was happy with. Then nerves started to take over..."
Although Rabobank has already named nine riders for the Vuelta, Hayman gives himself an outside chance of making it back into the team. "I was in that team on Saturday. There are four weeks of racing before the Vuelta starts, and if I should be back and somebody else should have a problem, then it's possible. I would have preferred to have been put on a reserve list with a question mark. We'll still see."