News: Rob Hayles on the CiCLE Classic

Endura Racing’s Rob Hayles is a legend in the sport and who better to ask about this unique race than ‘Killer’ Hayles on the eve of the great race.

VeloUK is at the race HQ where many of the teams have arrived and while riders relax, take power naps and prepare for their challenge on Sunday, the mechanics and team managers are hard at work. Spotted in the car park with his new ‘toy’, the Saab convertible, Rob was his normal self and happy to talk about the race.

Rob was telling VeloUK  how he loves this race and then proceeded to talk about the first year he rode it and smashed his bike to bits. “I broke my handlebars, I punctured, and then on the last sector which is different to how it is now, I double punctured and so had to roll in on the descent on two flats, get myself round the corner and then, just before the line, I got rolled by two people for the last prize!”

“But I still absolutely loved it with a big grin on my face”.

Rob added that as a professional in Europe, Paris Roubaix was a race he also loved. “It’s a track rider thing I think. I remember saying to my coach at Cofidis, I loved it (Paris Roubaix) and he laughed and said all the track riders he knew loved it. It is just special.”

“We rode Tro Bro Leon last year and have a team there this year, and that is more similar to this than Paris Roubaix but again it is just so different to the norm. It is dirt and more so than the CiCLE race. Bigger, longer sections and there is bomb hole in it and last year there was a car crash which was a catastrophe but that is part of the race.”

“You can have the best legs in the world and it can still all go wrong.”

Asked whether riders can relax on the opening two loops of Rutland Water in the Classic, he said “no, you can never relax.  Ideally, if need to stay at the front or in a group of good strong riders. You don’t necessarily have to be in the breakaway but you have got to be in a good group of strong riders. If you can stay in contention with 80 per cent of the strong guys you need to beat, then you are in with a shout.”

“If its hot, that will play its part and if its wet, it will be a different race again.  This is one of those races where you don’t have a lucky winner. You can have good luck but you can’t be lucky and win. You need to be strong.”

Asked where you can do some damage to your rivals, he replied “Somerberg is the one where you  can really do some damage or the last sector, Sawgate, and that last one can be key because you only have to drop down into the town then. Somerberg is probably the only one where you can dish it out and do damage. The rest you can kind of get through them and may lose a few or gain a few seconds but it soon comes back.”

Finally, Rob says he’s had a busy year so far with Endura Racing. “I Had a good winter, and then Three Days of West Flanders was really good for me. The Sunday I loved it and it was my type of racing. Then Majorca was hot and hilly, not my type of racing but hopefully the legs  will come round ready for the crits which is my key part of the year.”