Want to know how to put on a rain jacket? Don’t ask Jai Hindley
Young Australian reveals the cringeworthy details of his wardrobe malfunction at the top of a snow-capped Stelvio at this year's Giro d'Italia.
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Jai Hindley (Team Sunweb) is happy to speak about losing the Giro d’Italia to Tao Geoghegan Hart (Ineos Grenadiers) by the slimmest of margins.
The breakout talent openly discusses awkward questions about being the new Australian hope.
However, the laid-back Aussie grimaces in embarrassment when asked about “Jacketgate” on the Stelvio stage of the Giro last month.
“I thought I was going to be able to fly through without being asked about that,” Hindley replied good-humoredly when asked about the high-altitude wardrobe malfunction. “Ah man, it was so embarrassing.”
Television footage zoomed in on Hindley on the 18th stage of this year’s Giro as he wrestled to get both arms into his rain cape in the final kilometer of a snow-capped Passo dello Stelvio. Looking to keep pace in his battle for the stage with Geoghegan Hart and his teammate Rohan Dennis, Hindley narrowly avoided wheeling his way into a rock wall as he rode no-handed up the climb, before eventually pulling both arms into his sleeves.
The 24-year-old then had to endure kilometer after kilometer of chilly descent with the jacket unzipped, billowing out behind him.
The Aussie hopeful’s clothing catastrophe prompted a talking point that Hindley may care to forget. However, the young talent was able to reflect on it with a mixture of a cringe and a smile.
“I gave the soigneur that jacket for the top of the Stelvio,” Hindley told VeloNews and other reporters in a videoconference. “I’m not saying it’s Castelli’s fault at all, but it was the Castelli “white jersey” jacket that I gave [the staffer], not the Team Sunweb one … just to clarify that it had nothing to do with [team clothing partner] Craft!
“I also put my long-finger gloves on – I rode with them in my back pocket, I knew I’d want them just for the Stelvio descent. So I got them from my pocket put them on, and then I got the jacket.
“But before I gave the jacket [to the soigneur that morning], I loaded the jacket up with gels in the left pocket, so I had four gels in the left pocket. And here I am, thinking I’m super smart, thinking about it way in advance.
“But then I get the jacket and it was super windy up top there, it was blowing like crazy. You probably couldn’t see it on TV, but whenever you would ride one side of the climb, you were on the right side of the road and you were just super exposed. So it was flying like crazy. The sleeves on that Castelli jacket are super-tight so I couldn’t … oh man, it was just a nightmare!
“The whole left side of the jacket was weighed down by these gels that I’d put in so I couldn’t get the right side over and the wind was blowing. And also then once I did get arms I couldn’t get the [zip of the] jacket because of the long finger gloves.”
Behind him, teammate Wilco Kelderman had similar problems, finally throwing his uncooperative jacket to the road in frustration at the top of the downhill.
“Anyway, it wasn’t too bad,” Hindley concluded. “It wasn’t actually that cold over the top … and yeah … it just looked shit.”
Though Hindley lost the battle with his jacket, he won the day’s fight with Geoghegan Hart, edging out the Brit with a sprint finish atop the final climb to Laghi di Calcano.
After footage emerged just a few days later of Primož Roglič struggling to get his cape on during a foul day to Formigal at the Vuelta a España, maybe its time to bin the high-tech jackets and return to the days of stuffing a copy of the daily rag up the front of the jersey.