FFor over a decade, Cadel Evans has stood in the Australian Cycling Pantheon as the only Australian to ever win a major cycling tour. With a history stretching back to the early twentieth century, out of the 288 Tour de France, Giro d’Italia and Vuelta a Espana, the Australian finished only once on the grand podium at the end of 21 grueling stages.
not longer. On Sunday in Verona, Hindley tied Evans’ historic victory at the 2011 Tour de France with the glory of the Giro d’Italia. The 26-year-old from Perth, who says all he dreams about is being a professional rider, has become the second Australian to win the general classification at a Grand Tour.
It’s a true elite sporting achievement – comparable to winning a major tennis tournament or a handful of Olympic gold medals. Whatever Hindley achieves in his career, he will always be remembered as the first Australian to win a Giro and the first to follow in Evans’ purposeful footsteps.
“It’s a really big achievement – it’s hard to believe that an Australian has finally won this race,” said SBS commentator Matt Keenan just hours after the race was announced. “It is an honor to be able to name an important moment in the history of Australian sport.”
Hindley’s victory was all the more compelling given the unsettling sense of deja vu accompanying his battle for the leader’s pink jersey. Two years ago, West Australia declared itself to the world with a second place in the Giro, a shocking result for a relatively unknown rider. But that success, the best Giro result for an Australian to date, was marred by disappointment after Hindley won the icon. pink maglia In the penultimate stage, but lost it to Britain’s Tao Jiujiegan Hart on the last day.
There were amazing similarities to Hindley this month. Impressive victory on a big day in the mountains (Stage 9 this year, Stage 18 in 2020). A slow but steady rise in the rankings, bolstered by a remarkable endurance of uphill climbs. Good luck with the other contenders who dropped out of the general classification. and a single time trial on the final day, which has been looming over the Peloton for the past few weeks, knowing the lead can be determined by racing against time.
In 2020, Hindley entered trial on time with Geoghegan Hart. He lost 39 seconds and the pink jersey at the 16 km circuit in Milan. But history did not repeat itself on Sunday. Hindley again took the lead on Saturday’s penultimate stage, overtaking rival Richard Carapaz in the final kilometers of the Passo Vidaya climb. However, with Hindley decisively beating Carapaz’s previous lead by three seconds and then, Hindley went into the final day by 85 seconds.
It will prove insurmountable. On a Sunday afternoon in northern Italy, as family and friends watched at home in the early hours of Monday morning Australian time, Hindley banished the 2020 demons to secure the Giro’s glory. Before the race, the Australian gave a hint that he was working on his time test and that hard work was showing. His result on the 15th stage, where he lost just seven seconds to Carapaz, meant that repeating in 2020 was no problem at all. Given the critical role that time trials play in Grand Tour events, the performance also hinted at further successes.
“He showed that potential at the Giro two years ago,” Matt White, sporting director of Australia’s BikeExchange Jayco team, said at the cycling show on Sunday. Hindley started his career in 2017 at White’s development team before joining Dutch team Sunweb and German company Bora-Hansgrohe in January. “The attendance and delivery this year is very impressive,” White said. “Today is a big, big day for cycling in Australia.”
Kenan predicted a bright future for the newly crowned hero, Jiro. “He is now one of the best when it comes to cycling for three weeks,” said the commentator. “He’s only 26… Cadel Evans didn’t win the Tour de France until he was 34.”
Hindley has never participated in the Tour and has focused his energies on the Giro for the past four years. With the pink jersey secured, his focus could turn to the most popular Grand Tours Tour, first among his peers. “We definitely haven’t seen the best of Jay Hindley,” Keenan said.
Sunday was a good day for Hindley to write his name in cycling history. Exactly two decades ago, on May 29, 2002, Evans became the first Australian to briefly wear the pink jersey for just one stage. It was Evans’ first Grand Tour and indicative of a glittering career, culminating in a yellow Tour de France jersey. Twenty years from today and just a few hours south of Evan’s early success, Hindley has finished what the Australian cycling legend started.
Finally, an Australian won the Giro d’Italia. Evans now has a company in the Australian Bicycle Hall of Fame.