Hayden Roulston picked up a solid silver medal in the men’s scratch race behind a flying sprint from Canterbury’s Alex Frame. It’s a timely medal in a championships that’s been frustrating in places, but things are coming together for the former road pro. We had a chat to him after his ride.
Going into day 2’s racing there were a number of points that needed to be addressed as far as Hayden was concerned. Disappointment in the individual pursuit had seen him DNF in qualifying due to a positional issue. “I had a very bad feeling on the bike yesterday which was not ideal, definitely not good timing, you can think of it as better now than later. I made a few changes to my bike, gone back to my old position and it felt better already in the kilo.”
A much more promising ride in the kilo led into yesterday’s racing where he lined up for the 15km scratch race in a highly elite field. While the expectation was of a tough race, with world champions and Olympic medallists dotted through the field, what resulted was something else. Within the opening couple of laps Regan Gough of East Coast North Island had set a blistering attack that set the mood for the race and for the entire 60 lap race there was little or no let up. Speaking about that opening attack Hayden said, “I think everyone doesn’t want anyone to go from the start, but you have to be ready for it. I expected someone to go from the start and Regan’s a very talented bike rider – he’s a world champion – and you can’t let someone like that have a metre.”
That attack wasn’t the last one from Regan, but try as he might he was unable to gain a lap. A small group of riders were though, with Aaron Gate of Auckland, Luke Mudgway of East Coast North Island, Alex Frame of Canterbury, Marc Ryan of Mid South Canterbury and Roulston going clear; with Waikato Bay of Plenty’s Ryan Wills joining them for a short while. Once the lap was gained Gate did not stop attacking and was unfortunate not to gain a second lap, with a crash bringing those plans to a halt. In the end it would all come down to the sprint finish and an electric kick from Alex Frame was enough to claim the title, with Roly rolling home for second.
“It was a very hard ride, it was ridden really aggressively from pretty much everybody. But that’s what you expect in an Olympic year, you don’t expect to be riding around looking at each other; so I’m pretty happy with my ride, I’ve had a couple of testing days, so it’s always nice to do something that you didn’t expect to do,” he said afterwards. I think it’s safe to say that the disappointment of Wednesday had been somewhat put to bed with that ride, with Hayden well aware that sometimes you simply need to get up and get on with the job at hand. “As hard as it is sometimes to get over a setback like that you’ve just got to, you can’t dwell on it, and as you saw tonight I came out, raced my guts out and came away with a medal so I’m happy,” he said.
While Hayden is – and has been for a little while – completely committed to the track campaign, the road season is now gaining momentum. His former teammates at Trek-Segafredo are gearing up for the spring classic season, with Fabian Cancellara again looking in fine form at this point in the year and committed to bringing home more accolades in Flanders, Roubaix and more. We asked Hayden if he missed the road at all. “I do miss it a little bit. I’ve been in touch with Fabian and the boys over there, and we had a good thing going while I was there with the team, good friends and especially this time of year when you’re building up for the classics and stuff,” Hayden admitted. “But at the same time I’ve got a big goal this year and I couldn’t hang my bike up if I didn’t at least have a good crack at it.”
Hayden has climbed up from a difficult start to the championships and I don’t think that’s the last we’ve seen of him as the second half of the championships gets underway today. You can follow our live coverage of the evening session that starts tonight at 6pm.
By: Ed Wright