Hayes gets on his bike for Team GB gold
Twickenham’s Stuart Hayes may not have an Olympic gold medal hanging around his neck, but the triathlete can rank himself among his country’s golden heroes.
The 33-year-old played the role of domestique in the Team GB triathlon team and was responsible for guiding brothers Alistair and Jonathan Brownlee to gold and bronze respectively.
But while the brothers claimed the spoils, they were quick to include Hayes – who finished 37th in Tuesday’s race – when it came to basking in their glory.
Hayes was used to control the bike race to the Brownlees’ advantage and completed the 40-kilometre cycling leg of the event in one hour, 51 minutes, four seconds.
Olympic champ Alistair, older than his brother by two years, said: “To get two British brothers on the podium, you could not ask for more, and with Stuart we really were a team of three.”
And just for that, Hayes would love to see the Post Office honour his achievement by painting a post box in Twickenham in dazzling gold.
“It would be great to have a gold post box in my honour but I don’t think it will happen because I don’t have the medal,” he said.
“But I feel like I’ve won one because the guys are so appreciative of how much I helped them.
“Both brothers have been really supportive and treated me like I’ve won a medal too, which is fantastic.
“They have been hugging me and we go out together after races, it really is a team approach.
“Alistair phoned me last night to go for some drinks, but he’s 24 and I’m 33 and I need a day off before going out on the town.”
The team hatched the plan to have Hayes lead out the bike ride three months ago, which saw Hayes sacrifice his own medal chances by ditching his running training to concentrate on cycling.
The Whitton-born star had long been considered a stronger cyclist than distance runner and his efforts put the Brownlees in pole position to medal.
“I am known as a strong biker and my job is to make sure that should anything happen to the guys – like a puncture or if there is a crash – I can get them back into the pack,” he added.
“My aim was to protect them and make sure they got to the run in the best shape possible.”