Paris-Roubaix winner Mathew Hayman's victory celebrations will come to an end on Wednesday when he gets back to work supporting his Orica-GreenEdge teammates at the Brabantse Pijl, a UCI 1.HC-ranked race that completes the series Flanders Classics events that began with Omloop Het Nieuwsblad in February.
Michael Matthews will be a key contender in the 205km race near Brussels. The course finishes with three 23.4km circuits through Schavei, each with five climbs including the final quick ascent with 200m to go. Although Matthews has his eyes on Sunday's Amstel Gold Race, where he was third last year behind Michal Kwiatkowski and Alejandro Valverde, he also wants to turn last year's second place in Brabantse Pijl into a victory.
"Branbanste used to be held before the Tour of Flanders," explained Orica sport director Laurenzo Lapage. "Since 2010 it's been held before Amstel Gold and used as preparation for the Ardennes classics, which is exactly what we will be doing.
"Michael (Matthews) will be our leader and we have a strong team around him. It is really good to have our road captain Mathew [Hayman] back in the team for this race, his experience will be important, especially for the younger guys."
Hayman overcame a fractured radius he sustained in the Omloop Het Nieuwsblad, spending hours on the home trainer to keep his form for the Classics. He returned just last week in Spain for the GP Miguel Indurain and Vuelta a la Rioja before taking on and winning Paris-Roubaix.
He and Matthews will be joined by young Australian Jack Haig and Cheung King Lok, who makes his debut in the race. Damien Howson recovered from the flu and will start together with Daryl Impey and Jens Keukeleire.
Orica-GreenEdge for Brabantse Pijl/La Fleche Brabanconne: Jack Haig, Mathew Hayman, Damien Howson, Daryl Impey, Jens Keukeleire, Cheung King Lok, and Michael Matthews.
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