Each day this week Bicycling Australia will feature what we’ve judged as the top cycling moments of the year. With so much going on in the world of cycling over 2016 it’s difficult to know where to begin. You can be sure Anna Meares will feature, as will Richie Porte. And who could forget three-time Tour de France winner Chris Froome running up Mont Ventoux – there’s a fair chance we’ll take a look back at that. We’d love to hear your thoughts on the top cycling moments of 2016 – have your say in comments below or via our Facebook page.
Of all the cycling highlights of 2016 our number one choice is Aussie battler Mathew Hayman winning the the legendary Paris-Roubaix one day Classic. On April 10 this year, 37yo Mathew Hayman of Orica-Bike Exchange made history as the second-ever Australian to claim the title after Stuart O’Grady’s 2007 win.
Hayman’s 15th start of the Classic, one he’s long-described as his favourite race of the year, the Roubaix covers a gruelling 257km made up of 27 sectors of cobblestones. 198 starters lined up for the 114th event, one that’s rightfully regarded as ‘The Hell of the North’.
As often the case, slippery pave wreaked havoc for riders throughout the race as the terrain became treacherous, causing mechanicals and crashes all day long. Though predicted wet weather held off, rain from the previous evening puddled alongside the road adding to the hazardous conditions.
With a little over 50km to go the front group was blown apart with two crashes both involving Team Sky riders. Favourites Ian Stannard and Luke Rowe were held up – Rowe failing to dodge his fallen team mate and being spectacularly launched over the bars onto the pavement. Pre-race favourite Fabian Cancellara and World Champion Peter Sagan were caught in the trailing bunch after a series of crashes put them out of contact with the lead group. Soon after, Cancellara was making the chase but fell heavily on the cobbles, 46km from the finish at the famous Roubaix Velodrome. Sagan managed to stay on his bike, displaying the world-class bike handling skills he is known for.
Remaining in the daylong break that eventually whittled down to five of the world’s best riders, Hayman managed to hold off four-time Paris-Roubaix Tom Boonen to cross the line as victor. After 15 starts, and after finishing last in 2008, he had won the 2016 Paris-Roubaix. To make the story all the more astonishing Hayman spent the 5 weeks leading up to the race recovering from a broken arm – he trained for the event on a stationary bike in his garage!
As if his year couldn’t get any better, in November Mathew Hayman was crowned Australian Cyclist of the Year.
He was awarded the prestigious Sir Hubert ‘Oppy’ Opperman Medal & Trophy and the gong for the Subaru People’s Choice Award. Describing himself as an Aussie battler, Hayman said “The Oppy award is recognition from Australia that you are among the very elite.”
“It caps off a year of firsts for me and it is a privilege to be among the past winners,” he added.
What are your top cycling memories from 2016? Have your say in the comments section below or on the Bicycling Australia Facebook page.