Jai Hindley relishes ‘beautiful’ return to winner’s circle at Giro d’Italia

Hindley emerges from season lost to sicknesses and saddlesores to vault into GC contention in race where he first flashed his grand tour potential.

Photo: Michael Steele/Getty Images

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BLOCKHAUS, Italy (VN) – Jai Hindley (Bora-Hansgrohe) rolled back the years and emerged from the wilderness at the Giro d’Italia.

Nineteen months after scoring second place in the post-COVID Giro of 2020, the Bora-Hansgrohe climber kicked to a victory that vaulted him up the classification and saw him emerge the other side of a long spell lost to saddlesores and sickness.

“It’s a pretty beautiful feeling,” Hindley said after out-grinding Richard Carapaz (Ineos-Grenadiers) and Romain Bardet (Team DSM) in the grueling sprint to the Blockhaus summit.

“The last year wasn’t really my best year. I had a lot of setbacks and bad luck and I also haven’t had a super great result or anything. So to win a stage at the Giro d’Italia is amazing.”

Also read: Bora-Hansgrohe brings all the options to Blockhaus summit

The result comes almost exactly one year after Hindley blew out of last year’s Giro, completing a trilogy of races he failed to finish. Saddlesores saw the Aussie fade from the 2020 Giro’s podium to the sidelines of obscurity.

Now sitting in fifth overall, Hindley lies in the center of a tightly coiled classification pack separated by just 29 seconds, putting him back on the map at the very race that first marked him out as a GC talent.

“It’s pretty incredible actually,” he said. “It wasn’t the easiest year with the last year I had last year. I worked my arse off to get back to the level to compete at the Giro and I’m lost for words honestly it’s pretty amazing.”

Hindley hung tough as Ineos Grenadiers tightened the screws on the relentless Blockhaus summit.

After initially being detached from the A-star trio of Carapaz, Bardet and Mikel Landa (Bahrain Victorious), the Aussie marked the wheels during a mid-climb power-out to regain contact and unleash his sprint at just the right point.

“The last Ks were a bit steady and I could see in the front they were playing with each other. It gave me a bit of time to recover in the wheels. I knew this last sprint, it was about 200 m to go at the right-hand corner, and I just made sure I was the first one in,” he said. “I led out the sprint quite early but it was enough and I’m really lost for worlds. I didn’t expect to win today.”

Bora-Hansgrohe rolled into the bottom of the cat.1 summit with its triumvirate of Hindley, Wilco Kelderman and Emanuel Buchmann all in range.

After taking victory in the toughest stage of the race so far, Hindley now sits at the front of the Bora bus and occupies the very front of the Giro d’Italia frame.

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