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Interview: Hayden Roulston - Talented Kiwi
By Chris Graetz
Date: 2/8/2010
Interview: Hayden Roulston - Talented Kiwi

Interview: Hayden Roulston Ė Talented Kiwi
The series of interviews with Chris Graetz continues. This time, New Zealand's Hayden Roulston is the latest professional cyclist to talk about his future ambitions.

Hayden Roulston is just one of the many talented cyclists who have hailed from New Zealand. The 29 year old signed with Columbia-HTC last year and is set for a big two years with the most successful professional cycling team in the World.

Not only is he going to concentrate on the road, which sees him ride the classics and perhaps the Tour de France, but he has another ambition on his mind, a Gold Medal on the Track for New Zealand at the 2012 London Olympic Games.

Hayden has enjoyed a lot of excellent results over his professional career, which has spanned nearly a decade and some of his highlights have been claiming a silver medal in the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games in the Individual Pursuit and winning the 2006 New Zealand Road Race Championships.

Below are some selected palmares for Hayden, with a link to his personal website, which show all his achievements in full.

Selected Palmares

3rd Stage 14 Tour de France
35th overall Tour of California (2nd Ė Stage 7)
1st Stage 4 Tour of Wellington
1st Stage 6 Tour of Wellington
1st Stage 2 & 3 Tour of Vineyards
3rd overall Tour of Vineyards
1st overall, Tour des Deux Sevres
Silver Medal Ė Beijing Olympic Games Ė Menís Individual Pursuit
Bronze Medal Ė Beijing Olympic Games Ė Menís Team Pursuit
1st overall, Tour of Southland
1st overall, Tour of Wellington
1st stages 3, 5, 6 Tour of Wellington
1st overall, Tour of Southland
1st Pegasus Subway Classic
Full Palmares here, on his Official Website.

Hayden Roulston Interview - Video

Chris Graetz: This is your fifth professional team. What stands out with Columbia-HTC, than the previous teams you have ridden for?

Hayden Roulston: First and foremost itís a team that wins often. The team has two fantastic sprinters, probably the two best in the world and they are different sprinters. Andre is a strong sprinter and Mark is just pure speed, so, itís a winning team, a winning environment and whatís in there, creates success for any other rider. When the teams winning, it makes everyone else feel better as well. Itís just the winning environment, most teams have that, but this team has it more than others.

Chris Graetz: How did the signing with Columbia-HTC come about. Did you have long discussions with them or did it just happen?

Hayden Roulston: It happened pretty quick actually. I rode the Tour de France with Cervelo and I had some good performances there and we started talking to Columbia the day after the Tour and then I signed within a week. I wanted to get it done quickly because itís a peace of mind knowing you have a contract for two years.

Chris Graetz: What are your plans for the track?

Hayden Roulston: Iíve still got huge goals for the track. I still want the Olympic goal after missing out in Beijing. Getting a silver and bronze in Beijing is fantastic and Iím really proud of the achievement but I want a gold medal for New Zealand. Itís huge and the Olympics is everything and a gold medal will top it all off. Now they have taken the Individual Pursuit out, itís not necessarily going to be harder, but I have to put my trust in other riders to perhaps win the team pursuit and I believe we have the riders to do it.

We have a great young team, great riders, Sam Bewley, Jessie Sergent, Marc Ryan, Wesley Gough, and we have other fantastic up and coming riders. I might even ride the Omnium yet. Iím not sure but the Omnium suits me now. The events have gotten longer and there is more of an endurance aspect to it so I havenít ruled it out to be honest. I definitely want a gold medal and I donít care if I have to ride a womenís event, Iíll still do it.

Chris Graetz: Speaking of the young talent, you rode well in the National Championships, but a younger rider by the name of Jack Bauer beat you and he, in particular looks like heís going to be a very good rider. There is plenty of other young riders around too. How excited are you seeing this young talent come through?

Hayden Roulston: Itís fantastic. I donít even know Jack to be honest and the first time I heard of him was about three months ago so I canít even speak for Jack but there are other younger riders, like Tom Finlay and Patrick Bevan. There are probably ten riders who have huge talent and they really make me quite proud to be a New Zealander in the Pro Peloton now knowing whatís coming because they have so much talent and I just want teams to watch them because these guys definitely have what it takes. They are good, young riders, who have developed over the years and havenít just sprung up and thereís so much talent there I think itís fantastic for New Zealand cycling.

Chris Graetz: Where in the lead-out train will you be positioned when setting up a sprint for the sprinters?

Hayden Roulston: Itís still up in the air a bit and I donít have a huge amount of confidence in those bunch sprints yet Ė I donít like the hustle and bustle type thing. At the moment, I actually prefer to be early in the lead-out train but I do have the characteristics to go later, but not where Renshaw is. Maybe in front of Renshaw or in front of Eisel. Wherever you get put you just do your job and sometimes itís good to have a couple of stronger riders early in the train too as it lines the peloton out. Technically, Iím a rider that can be placed anywhere which is a positive for Columbia and weíll just have to see.

Chris Graetz: Whatís your favourite race?

Hayden Roulston: The Tour! I love the classics also. Up until this year I didnít know what the buzz was about the Tour. Everyone said the Tour is what cycling is and I didnít really understand it but I got there and realized, hey, it is everything and a day there can change your life forever. For me, the Tour de France is where I see my future and who knows how high it can go but I fully believe success is possible somewhere there.

Hayden Roulston (Right) sprinting for second place against Nicolas Roche in Stage 14 of the Tour de France.
Photo © 2009 Fotoreporter Sirotti

Chris Graetz: Whatís your Racing Schedule this year?

Hayden Roulston: I do Paris-Nice, all the classics, then I have a small break. From there I go to the Tour of Romandie, Tour of California, Dauphine and then the Tour de France.

Chris Graetz: What is your goal this year?

Hayden Roulston: To find who I really am as a rider. Iíve spent quite a few years in the proís now, even though I had a few years away and I never really discovered which lane I should take. With me in my current body shape I can definitely be in the classics and be very strong. I have a lot of confidence there, but also if I can zip my mouth and not eat I could actually be quite good in the Tour. I would love to see me do some real standout performances leading up the Tour, like in the Dauphine, and show that Iím ready and Iím capable of finishing high on the GC (General Classification) and that will be a huge goal and Iím going to work somewhere towards that. However, first and foremost I want to show the team that their investment is a good one.

Chris Graetz: You have plenty of years left, and you have already spoken about Olympic gold, so what about your longer term goals?

Hayden Roulston: I could say I want to win the Tour de France Ė thatís everyoneís dream and it will still be a dream of mine but whether it happens or not, who knows, but Iíd love to win a big race, whether it be a classic, or a stage in the Tour, something like that would be the icing on the cake.

Chris Graetz: Have you got any advice for young riders who want to turn professional?

Hayden Roulston: Yes! be patient. Remember that if youíre doing 1000km a week, when youíre 16 years old, youíre going to have to be doing 2000kmís a week when youíre 20, and 3000km a week when youíre 25 and itís basically when youíre 25 that matters. So be patient and only do what you have to do to be good and when youíre at that level youíre really focusing because itís a long haul. Itís a 10-15 year career doing big kilometers and you have to have a fresh mind, otherwise youíll never make it.

Chris Graetz: Have you got a wish for 2010, personally and/or professionally?

Hayden Roulston: A successful year. Personally, Iíve just had my baby boy (Moses), he was born last year, the day after the Tour de France and I want to be around to see him grow and thatís pretty important to me. Times have changed. Iím no longer the larrikin from New Zealand, Iím a dad now and things have changed and Iíve grown up and I just want to establish who I am in the peloton.

Chris Graetz: Well, on that note, one more question. How are you finding juggling fatherhood with Cycling?

Hayden Roulston: Weíre very lucky with Moses. He sleeps all night and we took him out to dinner, one night and he slept the whole time so at the moment heís a dream baby. Heís a great boy and heís got a pretty exciting life ahead of him. He was born in Italy and heís traveled around the world and heís probably going to be racing against Max Armstrong. Heís a really good kid and Angela, my partner, is a great mother and without her it would be very difficult, so itís all good.

There is not a doubt in my mind that Hayden is going to put in some excellent performances on the road this year and we wish him all the best for the rest of his career and look forward to catching up with him soon.

Chris Graetz Ė January/February Series of Interviews!
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Will Clarke Ė Australian On The Rise
BC 5000 Ultra-Cycling Canadian Style

Coming next: Matthew Goss (Columbia-HTC)

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