Hayden Roulston's Olympic dream burns bright

MATT RICHENS
Last updated 05:00 22/01/2014
Hayden Roulston
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BUSY BOY: Hayden Roulston fears his Tour de France commitments may interfere with his Olympic ambitions.

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Hayden Roulston wants another shot at his golden Olympic dream but his road commitments, which this year could include a second Tour de France, could interfere.

The Canterbury cyclist, who this month turned 33 and won his fourth national road race championship, still has Olympics aspirations and wants to represent New Zealand on the track at the Rio Games in 2016.

He still feels he has plenty to offer, but concedes Rio would be his last shot at completing his full set of medals after he won silver in the individual pursuit and bronze in the team pursuit at Beijing in 2008.

An issue however, could be his road cycling contract.

He's signed with Trek Factory Racing this year and next which would leave him just 2016 to focus on the track before the Games in August.

Roulston would love to get back in black on the track and said he'd be willing to work around his road commitments while also building a strong road base - a huge plus for good track riders, he said.

"It's a bit about keeping options open for me, I don't want to say no to anything. I'd love to go back to the Olympics on the track and, to be perfectly honest, it's not something you need to be fully focused on now."

After near misses in China six years ago, Roulston's Olympic dream still burns bright.

The team pursuit would be his best chance, though BikeNZ would need to be happy with the work he was doing in the build-up.

"It'll be tough to train for both, no question about it, but you do what you can while you're still on the road then do more when you can, but the road stuff helps, too.

"I totally believe it could all fall into place. From October 2015 when the road season finishes I could be focusing on the track and a lot can happen in that time."

It could come down to whether or not BikeNZ wants riders to commit early to the track, or if they just want the best riders come Olympic year.

For this year at least, Roulston's focus remains primarily with his Trek team who had a phenomenal Classics season last year.

Roulston and his team-mates helped main-man Fabian Cancellara win the two biggest Classic (one-day) races of the year, the Tour of Flanders and Paris-Roubaix.

"It'll be tough to beat last year," Roulston said. "Fabian won all the big classics so it's like what the All Blacks did, winning every big test match. If we could even have half the success we had last year, it will be another great year."

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Roulston's success with the team, which is basically the same team as last year though is now run by Trek without the input of Radioshack or Leopard also gives him more say.

His stock has again risen within the team and he's had a programme designed for him to get back to the Tour de France.

He competed in the sport's pinnacle event in 2009 and was excited about the prospect of getting there again this July.

And in the back of Roulston's mind now, just waiting patiently for him to spend more time thinking about it, is the idea of retirement.

It's something he's caught himself pondering from time to time; not when, but more what he'd do when he does decide enough is enough.

"It's hard not to love what I do and to love my job. I mean I get paid to do what I love. But I've just started thinking about it [retirement] a bit more recently. I think I'd like to play a role in coaching. There's massive talent here and, having been there and done that, I'd love to help out in some way."

- Fairfax Media

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