Former Paris-Roubaix winner Mathew Hayman (Mitchelton-Scott) relished a day on the cobbles during the Tour de France but while the Classics specialist may have repeated his 2016 success if riding alone, looking after teammate and general classification hopeful Adam Yates was the priority for the day.
The 40-year-old Australian looked at home covered in dust and sweat outside the Mitchelton-Scott team bus immediately after the stage, just metres away from the famous Roubaix velodrome and was clearly relaxed after Yates made it through the stage unscathed and in the main group of GC contenders.
Speaking with Cyclingnews, Hayman explained the day's events, "[Yates] was really suffering from the start so [it was] a really top effort from him. As well as he went today, I'm probably not going to go as well in the mountain stages, he was on my train today so it was a tough train but great riding.
"For sure [I'm satisfied]. You don't want to lose time, of course, we were going to look for an opportunity if we could to put time in, but it never really eventuated. Every time someone looked like they were on the front foot, the next corner they were on the back foot.
"Team Sky started to ride there for a minute and then a couple of them crashed a number of times, that's what that race is kind of like. I don't know the results 100 per cent, but [Yates] came in with the favourites."
Mitchelton-Scott's GC challenge continues with the Alps looming on Tuesday, with Yates hoping to better his fourth place finish from 2016. BMC Racing's GC challenge is all but over, however, with team leader Richie Porte crashing out after ten kilometres of racing and abandoning before the first sector of cobbles.
Compatriot Hayman was visibly gutted for Porte when discussing the BMC rider's premature departure from the Tour and although admitting to having his own fun during the stage, Hayman questioned the suitability of a cobble-laden stage littered with crashes, mechanicals and injuries throughout.
"It's pretty unfortunate, [Porte abandoning]. You know having a stage like this in the Tour, I'm not sure. At the end of the day, I had a little fun today out there but whether it's something to be in the Tour?
"Then again, we fly down to the mountains and we race in the rain. It's pretty devastating for [Porte] and it's not the first time. Guys like that put months and months of work into this, it's not just these three weeks it's probably six months of his life, missing births of kids and that kind of stuff to be here and to crash out like that seems a bit unfair."
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