Jai Hindley ready to make Giro d’Italia history
Bora-Hansgrohe’s Jai Hindley is set to make history tomorrow as Australia’s first Giro d’Italia winner.
The 26-year-old from Perth started today’s final road stage in the Dolomites just 3 seconds behind the winner of the race three years ago, Richard Carapaz of Ineos Grenadiers.
The pair haven’t been more than 5 seconds apart since Hindley won on the Blockhaus the weekend before last.
They made their mark in the mountains of northern Italy last week, although until tonight it was still the Ecuadorian who took the podium in the race leader’s maglia rosa at the end of step.
But with 3.5km remaining of today’s final climb on a day that saw three tough climbs in the Dolomites, including the highlight of this year’s race, the Passo Pordoi, the impasse has finally ended as the battle for the general classification began in earnest.
Hindley, who had looked fresher throughout the day, had the advantage of having a team-mate in front at the break, Lennard Kamna, who stepped back to assist him briefly.
Carapaz, isolated from his teammates and missing key super-servant Richie Porte, who retired yesterday due to illness, was outnumbered, and when Hindley attacked in the final 3km there was no response.
The pair have faced each other four times in individual time trials, with Carapaz outpacing each time.
As the 105th edition of the race ends tomorrow in Verona with a stage against the clock, if the Ineos Grenadiers pilot had kept Hindley in 30 or 40 seconds, he might have had a chance to win the race for the second time. in four years.
But by shipping the Australian 1 minute 28 seconds today, barring a fall or catastrophic mechanics, it is the Bora Hansgrohe runner who, as the last man out, will enter the famous Roman arena of Verona tomorrow in pink for win the Giro d’ Trofeo Senza Fine of Italy.
It will not be the first time that Hindley has started the Grand Tour of Italy at the top of the general classification.
Less than two years ago, in the 2020 edition of the race delayed by Covid, he started the last individual time trial in Milan at equal time with Tao Geoghegan Hart of Ineos Grenadiers, but in the maglia countdown rose.
That day he gave up 39 seconds to the Londoner and finished the race second overall.
Barring a disaster tomorrow, it’s hard to see Carapaz recovering from his 1 minute 25 second delay.
After today’s stage – won thanks to a fine solo attack in front of Passo Pordoi by UAE Team Emirates’ Alessandro Covi – Hindley is likely to put his heartache from two years ago behind him and will join 2011 Tour France winner Cadel Evans as an Australian Grand Tour winner.
“As a team we had a pretty smart race,” Hindley said after today’s stage. “We tried to seize our opportunities without wasting too much energy when it was not necessary.
“Everything was quite calculated. I knew if I wanted to do something in the race it had to be today. I gave him everything.
“When I heard Carapaz was struggling a little, I needed to refuel and I did.
“It’s been a bumpy road coming back here after a tough season last year,” he continued. “I didn’t know if I could get the maglia rosa back after the difficult season I had last year with illnesses and accidents, but now I have it and I will die on the road for keeping it tomorrow .”