Two months after hanging up his wheels as a professional bike rider, Mathew Hayman has immersed himself in his new role as a sports director. The Australian retired at the conclusion of the Tour Down Under in January, bringing down the curtain on a career that spanned two decades. Last weekend he was back in action for his Mitchelton-Scott team – but as a director during Opening Weekend in Belgium.
“I did a recon with the boys the other day and I got dropped, which I probably should have been seeing as I’ve not ridden much for over a month. It confirms you need to train to ride these races,” he told Cyclingnews.
Hayman’s retirement was as well planned and orchestrated as they come. He announced the news last year and used his home WorldTour race as a farewell tour. That said, little can prepare an athlete for the quick transition into retirement that they inevitability go through.
“Straight after the Tour Down Under, I drove crying kids around in a van,” he told Cyclingnews.
“Everyone was pretty tired – they needed sleep – so I went and parked under a tree while they slept. We celebrated the twins’ second birthday the day before we left Australia. I couldn’t think of a better way to finish my career. It’s done and I’m excited for these races, and for the boys. I don’t feel like I need to be out there.”
Hayman returned to his European home soon after the Tour Down Under. As a former Classics rider and Paris-Roubaix winner, he threw himself into his next role with Mitchelton Scott. First, he covered a batch of one-day races in Spain, before all of his attention was focused on the spring Classics. The 40-year-old is well aware that there will be moments in which his emotions as a former rider will go into autopilot and that he may struggle with certain aspects, but, for now, the shift from the bike to the team car has worked.
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