Jai Hindley endures ‘shock to system’ in first hit out since Giro d’Italia win

The Bora-Hansgrohe star dug deep to finish fourth in the explosive uphill finale Tuesday in a sign that things are on track for Vuelta a España.

Photo: Gonzalo Arroyo Moreno/Getty Images

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It’s been a few weeks since Jai Hindley hoisted the prosecco to celebrate this Giro d’Italia victory in May, and he felt it in the stinging finale Tuesday in the first stage at the Vuelta a Burgos.

Saturday’s Clásica San Sebastián was his first race since becoming Australia’s first Giro winner in May, and he did not finish the high-octane Spanish one-day as his legs suffered after weeks away from racing. Hindley raced again Sunday to finish 12th at the Circuito de Getxo in northern Spain.

On Tuesday, the Bora-Hansgrohe star dug deep to finish fourth in the explosive uphill finale to the Burgos castle in a sign that things are getting back on track.

“To be honest, Saturday was a big shock for my system after returning to racing from a longer break. I prepared well in Andorra, but I always need some race intensity to get in shape,” Hindley said. “Sunday was already a lot better and today I had quite good legs for the first time.”

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Santiago Buitrago (Bahrain Victorious) jumped with 750m to go to surprise the GC favorites, and Hindley trailed across at three seconds back. The hilly and hot Burgos tour serves as a warmup for a run at the Vuelta a España later this month.

“I was on the wheel of Buitrago at the right moment, but I hesitated a second as a was on the limit like everybody,” Hindley said. “Santiago was the strongest I think, but I am happy how I felt and can look forward confident now.”

Hindley eased back toward competition with an altitude camp in Andorra, and will race the Vuelta to chase stage wins and put another grand tour into his legs ahead of what’s expected to be a debut at the Tour de France next year.

“Felix Großschartner won here a couple of years ago with a late attack and that was also our plan,” said sport director Jens Zemke. “We knew there will be a big bunch coming into the last kilometer and position was key. The boys did a great job there to keep Wilco [Keldermann] and Jai in front as we knew those two would have the best chances.

“Buitrago did exactly the move Felix did when winning here. He looked really strong, and it was impossible to close the gap when he got a few meters. But we are happy with Jai and Wilco in 4th and 6th. I think the progress we see from San Sebastian until now is promising for the Vuelta.”

The 44th Burgos tour continues Wednesday with a rolling stage well-suited for the sprinters.

Bora-Hansgrohe at sign-in in stage 1 at the Vuelta a Burgos. (Photo: Gonzalo Arroyo Moreno/Getty Images)

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