How Hindley went from ‘survival mode’ to Giro stage winner

Australian Jai Hindley (BORA-hansgrohe) made history atop the Blockhaus, a place where sports legends like Eddy Merckx, José Manuel Fuente, Argentinian Moreno and Nairo Quintana have hailed victory in the past.
Hindley put his name alongside those greats with a brave run on a day where he overcame bad feelings to fight back and sprint to victory among a select group of climbers.

“I was in shock yesterday,” Hindley said in an interview with SBS Sport’s Jamie Finch-Penninger. “I didn’t know how my legs were going to feel on that last climb, I really didn’t feel great but to come away with a win was great. I’m riding on cloud nine today.

The 26-year-old from Perth thought he was in trouble when Tasmanian Richie Porte (INEOS Grenadiers) produced a characteristic leg-sapping push down the steep slopes of the Blockhouse, with the retired runner reminding those why he has was one of the best climbers. around the world over the past decade.
“Pretty wild,” was how Hindley characterized Porte’s imposed tempo. “Richie is a world class rider and he’s in pretty good shape I would say. He was tearing people’s legs off on that climb.

“I wasn’t having the best day and I was in survival mode. To tell the truth, I was pretty happy when he pulled out and ended the day because he was doling out the pain.

With 4.5 kilometers to go, Porte took off from the front and it was the big favorites for the overall victory, with some contenders like Simon Yates (BikeExchange-Jayco) and Hindley’s BORA-hansgrohe teammate Wilco Kelderman already abandoned. Richard Carapaz (INEOS Grenadiers) launched an attack which Hindley tried to follow, hanging between two groups before tactically retreating towards the pursuers.
“I knew when Richie was successful that Carapaz was going to leave,” Hindley said. “I knew I didn’t really have the explosive acceleration that day, so I was just trying to pace myself. I looked back and saw [Joao] Almeida and he is a very good driver to set his own tempo.

“I did a few laps with him. When I was in front I didn’t really close the gap, when he shot he held on and took time on the front three. He kind of saved me yesterday. Luckily they were cat and mouse a little out front so we were able to come back.

Hindley had to fight again after a subsequent attack and it became a sprint between six on the toughest day of the Giro 2022 to date. The Perth-born driver decided to take the lead.
“I knew there was this right-hander with 200 yards to go and I wanted to be the first through it,” Hindley said. “I opened the sprint quite early, maybe too early, but at the end of a difficult mountain stage like that, it was better to lead it and go far than to let go of the more guys. impactful there.”
The rest is what cycling fans already know, the long and brave sprint to the line saw him hold off the more experienced and credentialed pair of Carapaz and Romain Bardet (Team DSM), with Hindley crashing to the ground just after. the finish, fully expended from the effort that saw him achieve the historic victory.
“I had finished well,” Hindley said. “I was happy to see the finish line and happy that there was no one ahead of me. It took me a while to catch my breath after the finish, it was a total effort from the bottom of the climb to the top An epic day for sure.
Hindley is quickly building a reputation as an athlete who excels on the biggest stage of the toughest races, with all of his victories coming in the races where the toughest climbs feature.

“These are the days that suit me, epic days with a lot of elevation,” Hindley said. “I’m just enjoying and looking forward to those days. Getting a win on the Blockhaus is an iconic climb and it’s pretty cool to add it to the charts.

Stages 10-15 look easier than the test Hindley just passed with flying colors, but the West Australian was wary of unforeseen difficulties that can ruin top riders’ GC bids.
“There are quite a few stages for sprinters but I find these intermediate stages with 3,000 meters of elevation gain quite hilly – where you least expect it – it can be a massive fight for GC. being that on paper the second week isn’t the hardest but I think there will be some interesting days and then the third week is just a standard Giro d’Italia, just epic.
‘Epic’ should suit Hindley, but he’s not the only man on his team with the German squad also including German driver Emanuel ‘Emu’ Buchmann in a handy overall position. Buchmann is ninth overall at 1’06, while Hindley is fifth, just 20 seconds behind race leader Juan Pedro López (Trek-Segafredo).
“As far as I’m concerned, yesterday didn’t really change a whole lot,” Hindley said. “It’s a three week race and Emu also had a very good day. The more options and playing cards we have, the better. It was super unfortunate that Wilco (Kelderman) needed to change bikes when it was a flat out race, but that’s racing.
“In terms of leadership, we have two guys trying to do their best on GC.”
When the climbing gets toughest, Jai Hindley, even on ‘not the best day’, excels in a peloton containing some of the best cyclists in the world. He will have plenty of opportunities to show that ability in the rest of the 2022 Giro d’Italia and bettering his second place overall in the 2020 Giro is a real possibility.

The Giro d’Italia returns with Stage 10 on Tuesday evening, a 196km stage with a hilly finish from Pescara to Jesi. Watch Tuesdays from 8:10 p.m. AEST on SBS On Demand, with the SBS broadcast starting at 11:00 p.m. AEST. WA viewers can tune in starting at 9 p.m. AWST on SBS VICELAND.

Comments are closed.