Jai Hindley of Bora Hansgrohe has officially revived his reputation as a man to win the Giro d’Italia with a narrow victory atop the Blockhaus climb in Abruzzo. Hindley stayed in or near the top group of favorites, which only occasionally saw INEOS’ Richard Carapaz, DSM’s Romain Bardet and Bahrain’s Mikel Landa attempting small attacks, but the quartet plus UAE’s João Almeida regrouped after the horrendous, grinding climb to duke it out for the stage win and bonus seconds. Hindley launched ahead of Carapaz, who almost fought back but ultimately couldn’t, and saw Bardet get past him for second as well.
Behind them, overnight leader Juan Pedro López of Trek Segafredo just managed to hold on to the maglia rosa, after dropping halfway up the Blockhaus, following a touch of wheels with Sam Oomen, recovering the wobble, apparently tossing a bottle at Oomen (for which he later apologized), and settling into his pace for the day. His captain Giulio Ciccone faded much more significantly, so López may hang around the general classification for a while.
The day’s other big stories were the fading prospects of Simon Yates of BikeExchange, and a crash by Natnael Tesfatsion of Drone Hopper, who went off the road into the brush coming down the Passo Lanciano, while out in front of the Giro after being in the breakaway with Diego Rosa. Tesfatsion was accelerating away down the slopes of the climb, the same mountain that the race would turn around and climb again to the finish, when he mis-managed a slight turn at high speed and went off the road. But he avoided the guardrail and eventually remounted his bike to finish the race.
Yates’ prospects are more permanently damaged than any part of Tesfatsion’s body, however, as his condition (which included a knee bruise) deserted him completely, costing him over 11 minutes to his former rivals. Yates is scheduled to ride the Tour de France later, so we might see him turn to training for the Tour, or resting his knee if needed.
On GC, Almeida hung on and used his slight lead overall to be in second place by 12 seconds. Bardet, Carapaz and Hindley are all within five seconds of each other, while the other top men on the day, Guillaume Martin and Landa, are at 28” and 29” respectively, before the GC drops off to a tier of riders around a minute or more behind. We still have a very muddled picture of the overall, and can’t quite exclude López from the discussion, though even if he cannot hang on, we will still have six riders duking it out when the Giro reaches the northern mountain stages next weekend. Rosa has moved into the KOM lead, while López retains the maglia bianca, to be worn by Almeida for the time being.
Hindley, though, is the headline. His young career has been defined by the Giro d’Italia, namely his narrow loss in the rescheduled 2020 edition, where out of nowhere he rose up to the maglia rosa on the eve of victory, only to see it snatched away by Tao Hart in the last-day time trial. Since then he has battled injury, then this winter left Sunweb/DSM for the GC-oriented team of climbers at Bora, where he has recovered the sparkling form of two years ago. To take this notable victory, his second Giro mountain stage success, should redefine his career as no mere one-hit-wonder. HIndley is poised to contend into the major phase of this Giro d’Italia. And with his teammate Emanuel Buchmann in the top ten as well, plus Lennard Kämna on form, Bora have the horses for this course.
As we head into the second rest day, here are the standings. Results:
- Jai Hindley BORA-hansgrohe, 05:34:44
- Romain Bardet Team DSM, s.t.
- Richard Carapaz INEOS Grenadiers, s.t.
- Mikel Landa Bahrain Victorious, s.t.
- Joao Almeida UAE Team Emirates, s.t.
- Domenico Pozzovivo Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert, +03
- Emanuel Buchmann BORA-hansgrohe, +16
- Vincenzo Nibali Astana Qazaqstan Team, + 34
- Alejandro Valverde Movistar Team, +46
- Thymen Arensman Team DSM, +58
- Juan Pedro Lopez Trek-Segafredo, 37:52:01
- Joao Almeida UAE Team Emirates, +12
- Romain Bardet Team DSM, +14
- Richard Carapaz INEOS Grenadiers +15
- Jai Hindley BORA-hansgrohe +20
- Guillaume Martin Cofidis +28
- Mikel Landa Bahrain Victorious, +29
- Domenico Pozzovivo Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert, + 54
- Emanuel Buchmann BORA-hansgrohe, + 01:09
- Pello Bilbao Bahrain Victorious, +01:22
Isernia - Blockhaus 191 km
Nasty start, long stage, brutal finale up to Blockhaus. Excellent day for us on the sofa!
Expected finish: 16:50 - 17:40 CEST
Blockhead of the Day : Simon Yates
Last time we checked in on the GC folks he was the one we were all impressed by, no?