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2006 Commonwealth Games - JR
Melbourne, Australia, March 16-26, 2006
March 26: Mens road race
Hayman completes Australian record medal haul
By Mal Sawford, with additional reporting from Lorraine Collings
Mathew Hayman won Australia's eleventh cycling gold medal of the 2006 Commonwealth Games this afternoon, taking the final gold medal on offer by winning the road race with a last-lap solo attack. South Africa's David George followed Hayman home for the silver and pre-race favourite Allan Davis (Australia) picked up the bronze.
Hayman had almost joined Brad McGee, Stuart O'Grady and Robbie McEwen on the list of European based Australian riders who weren't available for the Games. "I asked them [Rabobank] last year if I could ride and two of the directors weren't that happy with it. But I was lucky that one of them was OK with it. For me as an Australian, the Comm Games in Melbourne is pretty special; they don't really understand that."
Hopefully going back to Holland with a gold medal will make it all seem worthwhile for team management. "There's been a couple of races [in Europe] over the last couple of weeks that really suited me, and in both of those races the team didn't do very well," noted Hayman, although Rabobank did finally score with Oscar Freire winning the Brabantse Pijl today.
How it unfolded
While the women had rolled around the opening lap together before commencing hostilities, Scot Duncan Urquhart had other ideas and attacked very early in the piece. While the bunch rode a steady tempo, Urquhart opened a handy lead, and waited for some sort of reaction from behind. A chase group containing Jeremy Maartens (South Africa), Domenic Perras (Canada), Robin Sharman (England) and David Kinjah (Kenya) formed on the second lap and joined the leader midway through the third, which prompted the entire Australian team to move to the head of the bunch.
The Aussies set a tough tempo; although the break continued to slowly pull away towards its maximum lead of two minutes, the main field continued to shed riders every lap. Peter Dawson did a huge amount of work on the front in the early stages, and virtually single handedly had the break back to 40 seconds before running out of steam. With Dawson back in the pits, the pace of the chase eased a little, allowing the break to double its advantage.
On the eighth lap of 15, the South African team attacked the final climb, allowing David George to blast across to the lead group. Almost as soon as George reached the break however, his teammate Maartens cracked, leaving the lead group with five riders once again. Aaron Kemps and time trial silver medalist Ben Day then lifted the pace even higher back in the rapidly shrinking peloton, which was already down to around 50 out of the 130 original starters.
As the warm sun became more potent, pushing the temperature over 30 degrees, the break eventually succumbed with four laps remaining. Both the Australians and South Africans were well represented, and it was the aggressive South Africans who took up the running to the Aussies, with a series of surges that saw the lead group further reduced to only twenty riders.
The lead group was split in two after an attack by Davis and South African shadow Robbie Hunter on the twelfth lap. Reaching the front group were Mathew Hayman and Will Walker (Australia), Ryan Cox and David George (South Africa), Steve Cummings (England), Mark Cavendish (Isle of Man), Greg Henderson (New Zealand), Gordon Fraser (Canada) and time trial revelation Chris Froome (Kenya).
Nearing the end of the 13th lap, Cavendish broke clear briefly, with his unsuccessful attack countered by Froome and Cox. Walker flew by both, but was also quickly covered by the South Africans. Davis' next effort was neutralized by Henderson, but the flurry of attacks had taken its toll. Cox and George sensed an opening, and jumped away on the penultimate lap; of the Aussies, only Hayman could respond.
The trio was quickly 25 seconds clear, and by the bell over 40. Although outnumbered, Hayman hung tough when Cox and George tried to one-two him, and sat in as the South Africans raced to the finish. The Australian then made his winning move on the first climb. "I was geeing myself up to attack on the last climb but an opportunity opened up on the first climb and I didn't hesitate," Hayman said later. His attack cracked Cox, but George was not so easy to dispose of. At the final climb to Anderson Street, George had clawed back within five seconds, but both riders were visibly slowing. In what became almost a slow motion drag race to the line, Hayman found the strength to keep his pursuer at bay, and give himself the chance for a proper two armed victory salute.
"I wish I had opened up 30 seconds right away but they didn't make it that easy. David George hung on 'til the end - he was chasing all the way to the line. I still can't believe it. I wasn't supposed to win this race!"
Davis raced up the final climb to claim the bronze medal, but he too was chased all the way to the line by England's Steve Cummings. "When [I heard that] Matt attacked... I just attacked and tried to go for third."
Hayman said he had benefited from teammate Davis' status as race favourite. "Allan was by far the strongest rider out there. It was easy to see that. We knew that and everyone else there could see that, too, so they were watching him. I was working for Alby but it turns that I just got in that situation because I had to cover the break [by the South African riders]."
If Hayman wasn't supposed to win, an Australian was, at least as far as the home team was concerned, and for the second time today the win came down to selfless teamwork. As Hayman put it, "The team were amazing. Did you see those guys riding on the front all day? Four hours on the front. We went into the race with such a strong team plan; Alby is such a dynamic rider he can sprint and he can climb, so we were really working for him but Neil (Stephens) had a lot of faith in me, so Al and I were the two guys the team was riding for.
"We chose to ride the way we did today, controlling it from the start, so that's two guys gone straight away (in other words two of the team had to forfeit their chances straight away - the first to go were Peter Dawson and Aaron Kemps). Ben Day, did you see him out there? He was on the front for ages and Dawson as well, he turned himself inside out. Because of the crowd and because of the team I had to make the move work. When you have guys like that riding for you don't want to disappoint!"
Pre-race favourite Allan Davis was just as pleased as Hayman. "I knew it was going to be hard out there for Matt - two against one and that's a big feat [to get the win]," he said. "He did it in the best possible way. Full credit to him and the whole Australia team. We were in control of the race from kilometre zero; we went in with high hopes and the way we raced makes me proud to be an Australian."
Silver medalist David George couldn't think of anything his team could have done differently against the powerful Australian team. "We knew we had to give it to them. If it was a sprint we had Rob [Robbie Hunter], but we really didn't want to leave it at that. Actually having two guys in the break you'd think it would be an advantage, but actually it was a disadvantage. If we were in the same situation and there were two Aussies, there's not a chance I would put my nose in front, so you have to take a chance."
For a thumbnail gallery of these images, click here
Images by Mark Gunter/www.pbase.com/gunterphotograph
Images by Rob Jones/www.canadiancyclist.com
Images by Mal Sawford/Cyclingnews
Images by Shane Goss/www.licoricegallery.com
1 Mathew Hayman (Australia) 4.05.09 2 David Harold George (Republic of South Africa) 0.04 3 Allan Davis (Australia) 0.12 4 Stephen Cummings (England) 0.25 5 Gordon Harold Fraser (Canada) 0.38 6 Greg Henderson (New Zealand) 7 Mark Cavendish (Isle Of Man) 8 Roger Aiken (Northern Ireland) 9 Martin Gilbert (Canada) 10 Peter Latham (New Zealand) 11 Tyler Barbour Butterfield (Bermuda) 12 David McCann (Northern Ireland) 13 Stephen Gallagher (Northern Ireland) 14 William Walker (Australia) 15 Dominique Perras (Canada) 0.43 16 Ryan Rodney Cox (Republic of South Africa) 0.44 17 Dan Craven (Namibia) 18 Robert Owen Hunter (Republic of South Africa) 0.46 19 Alfred Rodney Green (Republic of South Africa) 0.53 20 Svein Tuft (Canada) 1.00 21 Robin Reid (New Zealand) 1.20 22 Andrew Roche (Isle Of Man) 23 Glen Mitchell (New Zealand) 3.00 24 Emile Abraham (Trinidad & Tobago) 5.15 25 Christopher Clive Froome (Kenya) 26 Duncan Urquhart (Scotland) 9.13 27 David Kinjah (Kenya) 10.32 28 Ryan Connor (Northern Ireland) 10.34 29 Arno Viljoen (Namibia) 30 Alex Coutts (Scotland) 31 Thomas Evans (Northern Ireland) 32 Russell Downing (England) 15.56 33 David Treacy (Malta) 34 Jacques Celliers (Namibia) 17.24 35 Yannick Lincoln (Mauritius) DNF Matt Brammeier (Wales) DNF Nicholas Formosa (Malta) DNF Ian Stannard (England) DNF Ben Day (Australia) DNF Aaron Kemps (Australia) DNF Geoff Kabush (Canada) DNF Chris Newton (England) DNF Robin Sharman (England) DNF Geraint Thomas (Wales) DNF Mark Richard Kelly (Isle Of Man) DNF Jeremy Paul Maartens (Republic of South Africa) DNF Paul Manning (England) DNF Evan Oliphant (Scotland) DNF Yanto Barker (Wales) DNF Julian Winn (Wales) DNF Suhardi Hassan (Malaysia) DNF Shahrul Neeza Mohd Razalli (Malaysia) DNF Michael Swanepoel (Namibia) DNF Yolain Calypso (Mauritius) DNF Thomas Desvaux (Mauritius) DNF Jude Nathaniel Bentley (Guyana) DNF Graeme Ian Hatcher (Isle Of Man) DNF Anuar Manan (Malaysia) DNF Marc Bassingthwaighte (Namibia) DNF Mannie Heymans (Namibia) DNF Poloko Makara (Lesotho) DNF Tumisang Taabe (Lesotho) DNF Gregory Lovell (Belize) DNF Ian Smith (Belize) DNF Robert Frances Marsh (Antigua & Barbuda) DNF Jason Perryman (Barbados) DNF Geri Bryan Mewett (Bermuda) DNF Tobyn Scott Horton (Guernsey) DNF Robert James Smart (Guernsey) DNF Horace McFarlane (Jamaica) DNF Oniel Samuels (Jamaica) DNF Hedson Mathieu (Seychelles) DNF Lewis Ferguson (Northern Ireland) DNF Dale Appleby (Wales) DNF Rob Partridge (Wales) DNF Michael Nziani Muthui (Kenya) DNF Mohd Zahit. Mohd Zayuti (Malaysia) DNF Damien Tekou Foukou (Cameroon) DNF Mateo Cruz (Belize) DNF Etienne Bonello (Malta) DNF Philip Clarke (Barbados) DNF Tinga Turner (Jamaica) DNF Logan Hutchings (New Zealand) DNF Francois Parisien (Canada) DNF Colin Mayer (Mauritius) DNF Danny Lloyd Laud (Anguilla) DNF Peter Dawson (Australia) DNF Gordon McCauley (New Zealand) DNF Robert Wardell (Scotland) DNF Davidson Kamau Kihagi (Kenya) DNF Peter Kamau (Kenya) DNF Muhammad Fauzan Ahmad Lufti (Malaysia) DNF Mohd Jasmin Ruslan (Malaysia) DNF Sadrac Teguimaha (Cameroon) DNF Moeketsi Makatile (Lesotho) DNF Makhashe Ramolungoa (Lesotho) DNF Roger Troyer (Belize) DNF Giocondo Schiavone (Malta) DNF Charles Bryan (Anguilla) DNF Kris Pradel (Anguilla) DNF Ken Manassah Jackson (Antigua & Barbuda) DNF Lynn Byron Murray (Antigua & Barbuda) DNF Sam Firby (Jersey) DNF Marlon Andre Antrobus (St Vincent & The Grenadines) DNF David Matovu Kigongo (Uganda) DNF Hilarry Moono Ng'ake (Zambia) DNF Flaubert Douanla (Cameroon) DNF Martinien Tega (Cameroon) DNF Christophe Lincoln (Mauritius) DNF David Magezi (Uganda) DNF James Malako (Zambia) DNF Rupert Rheeder (Republic of South Africa) DNF Gareth Montgomerie (Scotland) DNF Andrew William James Cook (Isle Of Man) DNF Ng'ang'a Simon Nyoike (Kenya) DNF Khotso Ntsema (Lesotho) DNF Ronnie Bryan (Anguilla) DNF Barron Musgrove (Bahamas) DNF Duke Perrigoff Merren (Cayman Islands) DNF Warren Christopher Mc Kay (Guyana) DNF James McCallum (Scotland) DNF Tekanyane Moubane (Lesotho) DNF Muhammad Saleem (Pakistan) DNF Jonathan David Massie (Bahamas)