Final cycling hurrah looms for Hayman

Mat Hayman hopes when the magnitude of calling it quits truly hits, he is not in public.

The Australian cycling star will end his storied racing career this week at the Tour Down Under.

As of next Sunday, the 40-year-old will leave Mitchelton-Scott’s roster of riders and join team management in a variety of roles to find out what he might do next in his life.

But first, he wonders how he will deal with the reality of calling time on his 20-year professional career.

“I’m sure some time either this week or in the next two weeks, it’s going to hit home,” Hayman said.

“Hopefully it’s just a bit of mixed emotions on Sunday and then I’m somewhere quiet by myself when the rest of it hits home.”

Hayman is only the second Australian to win the Paris-Roubaix classic and he is one of the sport’s most respected riders.

Paris-Roubaix was a rare personal triumph for Hayman, who forged a career as a domestique and on-road team captain.

He will be honoured on Saturday night at the Tour’s Legends Dinner night and said it was an obvious decision to retire at the race.

“I have family coming and one of my favourite events from the whole 2018 season was here, racing with the boys,” he said.

“The way we need to race here to win this Tour is we need to use everybody.

“It ticks a lot of boxes for me.”

Hayman’s main job will be to help South African Daryl Impey become the first rider to successfully defend his Tour Down Under title.

But if the chance arises, Hayman will happily take one last shot at a stage win.

“(If) there’s a day we decide we need to cause a bit of chaos, that could be on the cards,” he said.

“I wouldn’t be a threat to many other teams and for me to go up the road, that would make sense.

“Also, there will be that extra motivation to know – instead of hesitating – ‘hey, it’s my last go’.”

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