Bannan: “He lives, he breathes, for Paris-Roubaix.”
In his third season with Orica-GreenEdge, Mathew Hayman got the win he wanted most. To get an insight into what victory in Paris-Roubaix means to Hayman, we caught up with Orica-GreenEdge manager Shayne Bannan who offered a few thoughts on what he declared was “the most special win” for the team.
– Interview by Rob Arnold
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Q&A with Shayne Bannon about Mathew Hayman’s Roubaix win
“I’ve got to say, it was one of the most amazing wins we’ve ever witnessed.”
Shayne Bannan generally manages his emotions fairly well but when a big win happens, he’s been known to let his guard down and allow the relief to wash him onto the dance floor.
After the Paris-Roubaix 2016, he was surprisingly composed: perhaps it was a mix of shock and elation that one of cycling’s genuine good guys had pulled off a remarkable coup, leading the likes of Tom Boonen, Ian Stannard, Sep Vanmarcke and Edvald Boasson Hagen over the finish line in the Roubaix velodrome.
A few short hours after Mathew Hayman held a rock aloft on the infield of a velodrome in Roubaix, the manager of the Orica-GreenEdge team was calm but clearly still buzzing from the effects of success.
While waiting for the chance to speak to Hayman himself – surely in a long queue of Australian journalists who will recognise the significance of what happened overnight – we caught up with Bannan to get his thoughts on an inspired race.
Read the transcript below to get an understanding of what the win by Hayman means to many people involved in professional cycling…
RIDE: Congratulations. I think [the race] kept a lot of Australians awake. The team promises to do big things and it delivers sporadically but when it does, it makes a lot of people happy.
Shayne Bannan: “I appreciate those words.”
The way [Mathew] rode throughout the whole race was brilliant but really that last five kilometres was a tactical masterpiece, wasn’t it?
“Yeah, we were talking about that earlier. I think that, tactically, he’s on another level – not only in the last five kilometres, but the last 20km. Just the way he’d foreseen the moves and the way he anticipated the race. It was pretty special.”
What do you have to say about his comeback? We heard about it from Matthew White (at the end of SBS’s coverage) but when you break your arm in [Omloop] Het Nieuwsblad, you don’t expect to be racing in Paris-Roubaix…
“I prefer not to just talk about his comeback over the last five weeks, I prefer to talk about his history in this race over the last 16 years.
“He lives, he breathes, for Paris-Roubaix.
“Throughout his whole involvement with our team, in the recent editions of Paris-Roubaix – not including this one – every time we see him on the bus afterwards, he sits there in tears about the bad luck… about whatever may have gone wrong. And he’s really thoroughly disappointed with his contribution as a team-mate and as an individual because his expectations for Paris-Roubaix are so high.
“So to see this victory today is just a testament to the hard work, the tenacity, the really professional approach he brings to Paris-Roubaix.
“It’s such a special feeling…
“I’ve got to admit, Rob – you’ve witnessed a lot of Australians winning races and so have I – but I’ve got say this has been the most special.”
‘The Most Special’, that’s a pretty big call from you Shayne but I echo that sentiment just because of the guy involved.
“It is because I know the person.
“I was talking about it before: on the train back to Paris out of the 18 WorldTour teams I received about 12 messages saying ‘Congratulations’, for one. But the sentiment often included that they couldn’t think of nicer guy to win Paris-Roubaix. That says a lot about the person.”
That’s right. There’s a lot of admiration for a very humble and professional character.
“Yep. It’s bloody great.”