Amid the bombastic names of Tadej Pogacar, Primoz Roglic, Jonas Vingegaard and Remco Evenepoel, appears that of Jai Hindley. Without the weight of being in a team like Jumbo-Visma, carrying the world champion’s rainbow on his arm, or having a record that cannot be counted on two hands, the Australian cyclist from the remote city of Perth enters the spotlight. of global cycling for a feat that is enough: to be the reigning champion of the Giro d’Italia.
Last year, after having seen his career affected by injuries, illnesses and falls, the unknown Hindley beat Ecuadorian Richard Carapaz in the final battle and won the Maglia Rosa. Since then, with the colors of the reinvented German Bora-Hansgrohe team, he has embodied the hope of repeating the title in one of the greats. And this 2023, he confesses to EL TIEMPO, his goal could not be more ambitious, because He will debut in the Tour de France and the idea is to do everything to win it, whoever competes.
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Hand in hand with Hindley
What do you think of the beginning of this season?
Well, I’m very happy with how it’s just started…, in the races that I’ve been able to compete in a very competitive state, perhaps not enough to win, but to be there. I think with each race I have been feeling better and I hope to continue like this for the rest of the season.
How has Jai Hindley changed after that Giro title?
The truth hasn’t changed much, but maybe that’s why now I arouse the interest of friends from Colombia (laughs). I think that perhaps the only thing that has changed in my environment is that I feel more pressure, but otherwise I am the same.
You have already won the Giro, are you going to the Tour?
Yes, the plan is to go to the Tour! It is my first time in the race and for me it is something incredible. I have always wanted to be there. At the age of six, I dreamed of fighting for the yellow jersey, so for me it’s quite special.
What does the tour of this year’s Tour analyze?
The layout is interesting, because it is marked by good mountainous terrain. In fact, the time trial has a good portion of climbing and for us that is a big draw.
The first time always has its traps…
Sure, but without a doubt the Tour de France is my goal, everything points towards that. In July we hope to show our best form.
Are you encouraged to give a result?
Hmm, I’m not really sure. We look for the best possible result, so whatever it should be.
What is the strategy to defeat Pogacar, Vingegaard, Roglic, the main favourites?
I’m not sure how to beat them… They’re phenomenal runners and, well, I really don’t know.
Are they invincible?
I don’t think they are invincible. Let’s see, they have two legs and two arms, just like me. Sure, they are incredible cyclists, who have been very consistent. When you race with them you can’t expect to win every week. That is the difference with the rest of the peloton, that they have fewer ups and downs, they are very regular and that is why they are one step above.
Are you a fan of that kind of aggressive cycling that exists today or do you think it’s better to work gradually towards a big goal?
I believe that one has to have one or two big objectives for the year. There are those others (Pogacar, Roglic, Vingegaard), who will manage to stabilize at the top all the time, but the demand is very great.
But that of having one or two objectives, it seems, is not today…
It is clear and it does not matter if it is the Tour de France or the Tour of Hungary, in all the races you compete with great intensity, with a high level, each stage is a battle. In fact, I think that for the fans it is much more exciting and they feel fulfilled, but the wear that we cyclists make is very great.
Where is your team, Bora Hansgrohe, compared to Jumbo-Visma, Ineos, UAE Emirates…?
Those three teams are very strong and consistent. Surely they get results wherever they go, but we are also a very powerful team, and the truth is I have fun. Our team, at all levels, is very strong. We have potential to fight.
The team comes from being a pure classicist and now fights stage races…
The change has not been easy, but we have already shown what we can do, it was not for nothing that I won the Giro.
What do you think of the return of Egan Bernal?
Colombia has an important role in world cycling, because the sport is felt very intensely. It is interesting to see the runners, the fans and even the journalists at the races. Bernal is a great guy, a great cyclist, what he has done shows it and it is good that he is back.
Can you win the big ones again?
Egan has shown with his victories in the Giro and the Tour that he is one of the best, and one hopes that he will return to that level at some point. Well, I hope so.
Is Higuita capable of taking responsibility for the triumphs of Colombian cycling?
My ‘partner’. He is a great runner. He was able to share fourth with him in many races and he is really a great guy, very simple and a good runner, very very strong. He is a great cyclist and we feel very lucky to have him with us.
And what do you think of the situation of Nairo Quintana?
I prefer not to talk about it.
Editor of EL TIEMPO