UCI Road World Championships: Jai Hindley feeling ‘back to normal’ after COVID-19 infection

The Australian was forced to postpone his worlds travel after testing positive for the virus following the Vuelta a España.

Photo: Gonzalo Arroyo Moreno/Getty Images

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WOLLONGONG, Australia (VN) — Jai Hindley says that he feels “back to normal” after catching COVID ahead of the UCI Road World Championships.

Hindley tested positive for the virus a day after finishing 10th overall at the Vuelta a España less than two weeks ago, forcing him to postpone his travel back to Australia for the worlds. Losing the 26-year-old would have been a big blow for the Australian men’s team, which is hoping to go for gold with Michael Matthews on Sunday.

Fortunately for the squad, Hindley finally arrived in Wollongong mid-week and he says that he’s feeling relatively OK all things considered.

“I feel pretty good, back to normal more or less, so hopefully it’s all good,” Hindley said at a press conference this week.

“I was a bit worried because I got COVID straight after the Vuelta, so I didn’t know if this was going to be possible. Luckily, I had pretty light symptoms and I was testing negative pretty soon after. Fortunately, I could come.”

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As well as playing a support role for Matthews, Hindley could be a secondary option for the Australian team if he has no lingering effects of his recent COVID-19 infection.

The Bora-Hansgrohe rider enjoyed a standout 2022 season after becoming the first Australian to win the Giro d’Italia. He took a lengthy break following his victory in the Italian grand tour, before returning to racing shortly before the Vuelta a España.

He was unable to replicate the form that he had earlier in the season in Spain, but rode to 10th place overall at 12:01 behind the winner Remco Evenepoel, who is another contender for the world title in Australia this weekend.

The Vuelta was heavily impacted by COVID-19, with nearly 30 riders leaving the race after contracting the virus. Though none left in the final days of the race, it was obviously still making its way around the bunch with Hindley returning his positive test just a day after the race concluded.

Though he had only minor symptoms, his positive test prevented Hindley from getting to Australia and he was unsure if he would be able to clear it in time.

“I was delayed by about four days, I think,” Hindley. “I was just in touch with the Aussie team as soon as I found out that I had a positive test. We were just playing it cautiously and they were still pretty optimistic that I would be able to race. I just kept in touch with them and as soon as I tested negative then I rebooked a flight.

“I was a bit nervous, I actually canceled my original flight and I had to book flights at a later date so that I could fly when I was negative. I was sweating there for a little bit, but I’m happy to be here that’s for sure.”

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