Giro d’Italia: Bora-Hansgrohe to play numbers game in GC fight
Jai Hindley says Wilco Kelderman is 'super unfortunate' but the team is still targeting overall podium.
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JESI, Italy (VN) — Jai Hindley believes that Bora-Hansgrohe’s best chance of success at the Giro d’Italia is to use its number advantage.
Bora-Hansgrohe is one of only two teams to have two riders sitting in the top 10 overall, with Bahrain-Victorious the other. It could have been more than that, but Wilco Kelderman lost nearly 11 minutes on stage 9 due to mechanical issues on the descent of the penultimate climb.
Despite losing Kelderman in the GC fight, Hindley says that he and Emanuel Buchmann can work well with each other in the high mountains.
“I think the more the merrier in my opinion,” Hindley said. “It was super unfortunate that Wilco lost that time because in my opinion it was better to have more options and cards to play in the final and it’s frustrating to see him lose that time because I saw the hard work that he put into the lead-up and he also had some bad setbacks.
“It’s not ideal to lose him out of the GC but Emu Buchmann also showed that he’s in pretty good form, so I look forward to working with him in the finals of some of the harder stages.”
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Hindley is the best placed of the Bora-Hansgrohe riders after his victory on the Blockhaus stage. He now sits in fifth place overall at just 20 seconds behind the race leader Juan Pedro López, with his teammate Buchmann back in ninth at 1:09 to the pink jersey.
There is a lot of racing to go with the majority of the big mountain stages placed in a grueling final week.
After hanging with the top riders and sticking it to them in the drag to the line atop the Blockhaus last Sunday, Hindley’s morale is pretty high and he’s hoping that he and Buchmann can continue to climb the standings as well as they’ve been ascending the mountains so far.
“I definitely take a lot of confidence out of the Blockhaus stage. We came here with a pretty ambitious goal of getting a rider onto the podium and I think we will continue to try and do that,” he said.
Hindley’s success at this year’s Giro d’Italia firmly closes a difficult chapter at the Italian grand tour for the Australian rider. Having impressed with his breakthrough second place to Tao Geoghegan Hart at the 2020 Giro d’Italia, Hindley left last year’s race with saddle sores.
The injury would plague him throughout the rest of the season, and he only rode four races throughout the rest of the season. In the build-up to the Giro d’Italia, Hindley had a solid — if not outstanding — set of results with fifth overall at Tirreno-Adriatico his best performance.
A sickness ahead of Liège-Bastogne-Liège, which he would not ultimately ride, meant he had questions over how he would ride at the Giro. With a win now already in the back pocket he’s hoping for more as the race develops.
“The lead-up that I had was pretty smooth and I was pretty fortunate to not have any crazy bad luck. Just before Liège I got a bit sick, and I was not 100 percent sure how I was going to be when I came here but so far so good, and actually, I think I’ve ridden into the race a bit, and hopefully, it just gets better and better.”