By Anthony Tan in Switzerland
Speaking with Cyclingnews before the sixth stage of the Tour de Suisse to Arosa last week, Aussie classics rider Matt Hayman was feeling a little out of his comfort zone with the oodles of mountains that lay ahead.
"When I first came here, I wanted to try and get away on one of the flatter days," said Hayman to Cyclingnews. "We don't have a real goal, so we're all pretty free to just have a go and try and get away in a group... and try and get through the mountain stages. Today, I'm just trying to get through the race."
Well, the 27 year-old made it through that day, and all the way till the final stage in Ulrichen, where he started, but like 26 others, did not finish. And he achieved his goal of getting himself in a breakaway on Stage 8, even though with another mountain-top finish to Verbier, the early move was always going to be doomed.
Speaking about breakaways, he must have been impressed with his fellow team-mate from Canberra, Rory Sutherland, who, for a neo-pro, had an outstanding Giro d'Italia, putting himself in at least two significant breaks over the course of the three weeks, and came into Milan 108th overall.
Said Hayman: "Yeah, but a lot of the guys who have come over [to the professional ranks] have been able to adapt really quickly to the pro way of racing, and to be able to get away in a few breaks in the Giro was pretty impressive as a first-year [professional]."
Asked about his season's major focus, the Spring Classics, Hayman said he was satisfied with how things went, but like any rider, he would have liked a win to go with it.
"The Classics were solid. I mean, I didn't win anything, but came close a couple of times... like a stage of De Panne and Dwars Door Vlaanderen, and in the bigger races, I was able to do my work, so I was happy with how it went. I got sick two days before Roubaix - I had a fever a couple of days after Gent-Wevelgem - so that was a bit of a downer, but after that, all the other races I did well in."
At the time we spoke with him, Rabobank's Tour line-up had not been confirmed, and to date, there is still one spot up for grabs. But Hayman is realistic about his chances of riding La Grand Boucle - at least for this year - and is looking more towards the final Grand Tour of the year, the Vuelta a España, in September.
"Yeah, the Tour de France line-up's been changing every day now... I mean, with Oscar [Freire] not looking like he's riding, Bram de Groot broke his wrist after Uniqa... so it's been changing, but I don't expect I'll be going. So I'll pretty much have till the end of July off, then the Sachsen-Tour [July 20-24], hopefully the HEW Classic [July 31], and then I'll probably ride the Vuelta. I want to do a Grand Tour again; I didn't do one last year," he said.