The name of Mathew Hayman conjures up certain images. Toughness. Persistence. Dust, dirt and sweat.
Now, the 2016 Paris-Roubaix winner has put his name to a race that evokes all the same characteristics.
The Hayman Classic promises to test the strength, skill and luck of riders across up to 96 kilometres of road and gravel outside Canberra.
Previously known as the Uriarra Roubaix, this year’s race will be held on a challenging 16-kilometre circuit that honours the Spring Classics – and its Classic-winning namesake, who spent his formative years with the host club.
“It’s a bit of an honour for me,” Hayman said about the new name.
“I grew up in Canberra, racing there from the junior division all the way through until I left for Europe. All of my cycling was done with the Canberra Cycling Club, and riding and training around Uriarra and out in the Brindabellas around Canberra was a big part of me as an athlete.
“The cycling club was a big part of my whole family’s life. Any way that I could give back to that club which meant so much to me, I was happy to put my name to the race.”
One-third of the Uriarra circuit consists of gravel roads, while punchy climbs and long open stretches of bitumen make this a test of both rider and machine.
“Come prepared to put it all on the line, and bring a spare tube or two,” the club warns on the entry page.
The honour roll includes 2020 Melbourne to Warrnambool winner Brendan Johnston and recently crowned national champion Alana Forster.
Last year’s winner Steve Crispin will take on the role of race director. Crispin, who is also the club president, said the course rewards those who can channel their inner Hayman.
“This race is definitely like Hayman’s own experience of Roubaix, and in line with his ‘just keep riding’ mantra,” Crispin said.
“Having been dropped, I just kept riding and never gave up,” he said about last year’s victory. “I caught the leaders a couple of times. Being that it is very much a race of attrition, circumstances saw me come out in front with some legs left on the final lap.”
This year’s edition will be held on Sunday, April 16. It includes race distances of 96km, 64km and 48km across the men’s and women’s grades.
“I hope everybody who travels down to Canberra to go to this race enjoys themselves. I’m sure it will be hard on their bodies and hard on their bikes,” Hayman said.
Click here to enter the Hayman Classic. Entries close April 9.