Alexandre Hayward on the fast track to Para cycling stardom

Canadian Paralympic Committee

October 21, 2022

Quick learner competes at two world championships in 2022


FREDERICTON – Alexandre Hayward is not spinning his wheels in 2022.

The 25-year-old national team Para cyclist burst on the national and international stage this year with a stunning victory in the time trial at a road World Cup event in Quebec City before posting two sixth places at the road world championships a week later in Baie-Comeau, Que.

But he wasn’t done yet.

Hayward was invited by Cycling Canada officials to attend a week-long camp this past September at the velodrome in Milton, Ont. to try track cycling, a sport he had never attempted before. The idea was to get familiar with the technicalities of the sport and see if he enjoyed it and would want to pursue it further.

“I was quite intimidated by the whole thing,” he admitted. “I wasn’t really sure how it was going to go. But five days later I managed to hit my standard which made me eligible for the world track championships.”

And Hayward is indeed set for his first international track competition, with the 2022 Para Cycling Track World Championships currently taking place in St-Quentin-en-Yvelines, France. The new velodrome will also be the track cycling venue for the Paris 2024 Olympic and Paralympic Games.

Of course the next question was how did he master the 240-metre track with slopes, on a bike with no brakes, so quickly.

‘’It started with, this is a track bike, you can’t stop pedaling, which is the biggest thing,” he said. ‘’I played around with that for a few laps, made my way on the straight sections of the track, tried some corners, which was an interesting experience, and that was pretty much day one.”

Hayward is a former member of the national junior wheelchair basketball team. It’s been 10 years since he broke his neck in a AAA hockey game, just weeks before the QMJHL draft.

He credits Cycling Canada Para cycling head coach Sébastien Travers for his fast development.

‘’He’s done this with many new athletes before. I guess it was sped up in my case because we had it in the back of our heads we could take a shot at doing the standard at the end of the week.”

Hayward achieved his standard in the 3000m individual pursuit, a sign of the endurance he built up on the road in the summer. The pursuit was the scariest for the University of New Brunswick mechanical engineering student.

‘’In pursuit you have to use the aero bars which was probably the most intimidating thing for me,” he said. ‘’We treated the last day as a race event, and I went for it.’’

After Milton, Hayward returned home with a ticket in his pocket for the track worlds. However there is no velodrome in Fredericton.

‘’We’ve been mixing in some intervals that simulate different parts of it,’’ said Hayward, before his departure for Europe. ‘’I would do pursuit efforts during my road rides, I also worked on my pursuit starts and we try to replicate the cadence and watts of the track.”

Hayward won’t make predictions for his track worlds debut.

‘’It’s a big first step and I’m going there with an open mind,’’ he said. ‘’Like the road worlds I want to get a sense of how it works. I’m both excited and intimidated at the same time.”

If his performances on the road this summer are any indication, don’t be surprised to see Hayward surpass all expectations in France.

Can Crew Newsletter

Receive the latest news, athlete stories, and behind-the-scenes access directly to your inbox.

"*" indicates required fields