Giro d’Italia; Jai Hindley joins Cadel Evans as on Australians to win a Grand Tour

Jai Hindley has forever put to bed the nightmare of a 2020 Giro d’Italia final stage horror by becoming just the second Australian to taste Grand Tour success.

The 26-year-old stayed upright in the final stage time trial in Verona, having snatched the lead on the penultimate stage, to follow 2011 Tour de France champ Cadel Evans in claiming a Grand Tour win.

Taking a cushion of almost a minute and a half into the time trial, Hindley ended the Giro one minute, 18 seconds ahead of 2019 winner Richard Carapaz despite finishing 15th on the day.

Making the victory all the more sweet was the presence of Hindley’s parents, who he hasn’t see in more than two years having made just one return from his Spanish base to Perth in February 2020 before heading back to Europe.

“I didn’t know that was the last time I was going to be back home for a couple of years,” Hindley told reporters.

“Then a few days ago I found out that my parents were going to be coming to the finish and I was really blown away, to not see your parents for 2½ years is unbelievable.

“To have them at the finish in the Arena today was special, really special. I think at the end of the year I’ll go home and savour every minute of it.

“It’s a beautiful feeling, really, a lot of emotions out there today. To take the win is really incredible.

“I’m really proud to be Australian and I’m going to take this one home.”

Jai Hindley celebrates with his team. Picture: Michael Steele/Getty ImagesSource: Getty Images

Hindley’s time-trial weakness cost him the overall victory at the death in 2020, having taken the pink jersey also in that year’s 20th stage before being pipped in the climatic time trial in Milan.

He conceded that was in the back of his mind this time, but he would not be denied.

“I had in the back of mind what happened in 2020 and I wasn’t going to let that happen again,” Hindley said.

“Last year was really, really hard and I really fought hard to be back here.

“But I didn‘t know I would be fighting for the win. To take the win is really incredible.”

Hindley did enough in the time trial. Picture: Michael Steele/Getty ImagesSource: Getty Images

Hindley said he might take a stab at this year’s Vuelta a Espana and is also eyeing a place in the world championships, which are to be held in NSW in September.

“I think it would be a great event and it’s not every day you get to do the worlds in your home country, especially when you’re form Oz. I’m super keen to be in that team,” he said.

“I think after today I’ll take it easy for a bit, sink some beers, park up and just really savour the moment.”

Enrico Gasparotto, the sports director of Hindley’s Bora Hansgrohe team, said the Australian “fulfilled all our hopes”.

“Jai’s win is a great success and we are all very happy. He has shown himself to be very strong during the three weeks and fulfilled all our hopes,” he said.

“It is our first overall victory in a Grand Tour and we are proud to have achieved this. The whole team worked well together and everyone gave their best every day to make this success possible.”