Ex-pro cyclist Rob Hayles on preparing for the bike leg

'Bike maintenance, clothing, nutrition, training and nutrition all crucial'


We speak to British former track and road racing cyclist Rob Hayles, who will be captaining a relay team at this year’s London Triathlon, where he will be in charge of the 20km bike leg.


Rob retired from professional racing in 2011 and is now a familiar face on various TV channels as a cycling analyst, including Eurosport’s coverage of the Tour de France. 

Why did you decide to do a triathlon this year?

It gives me a good focus for my own well-being since retiring from professional competition. It’s also reason for me to get back out on my bike, and I’m really enjoying getting back into it.

What are you most daunted by doing at the London Triathlon?

Having two team mates is something that helps but it also works the other way in that I don’t want to let them down, so that adds some pressure, especially as I’ll only be meeting them on the day! 

Who else will be on your team?

Some very lucky competition winners will be joining me on the day. We’ll be competing against some other teams and it’s my job to make sure we win!

What do you think is the main cycling mistake that triathletes make?

The position they adopt on a bike. I see a lot of triathletes in positions that aren’t very efficient for bike riding and I think some small changes could make a huge difference in times.

Will we see you at more triathlons in future?

Quite possibly, I live in a very competitive household, but let’s see how the first one goes.

Could you give our readers some tips on preparing for the bike section of a triathlon?

My five top tips for preparing for a cycling event would include bike maintenance, clothing, nutrition, training and mentality.

In terms of bike preparation, you need to make sure your bike is prepared two days before so you’re not panicking or trying to fit new equipment. 

Secondly, stick what you know – make sure you’ve ridden everything you’re going to race with at least once before you’re going to do it in anger, including helmet, bike and shoes. 

Thirdly, feeding strategy – don’t try any new breakfasts or energy gels that you haven’t tried before. Keep it simple and test products beforehand so you know how you’ll react to them on the day.

Fourthly, training – make sure that you’re rested. Especially in the week leading up to the race make sure you haven’t over trained. You’re better off going into a race underdone than overdone, if that makes sense?

Finally, be calm on the morning of the event. Nerves are only a good thing when focused and remember fear is your friend!


Entries are still open for this year’s London Triathlon, which takes place at London’s Docklands on 2-3 August – visit www.thelondontriathlon.co.uk for more information