Australian cyclist Jai Hindley targeting more Grand Tour glory at La Vuelta, home World Championships

A month on from his heroic victory at Giro d’Italia, Australian cyclist Jai Hindley says he was still processing the feat of becoming just the second Australian to win a Grand Tour.

Key points:

  • Australian cyclist Jai Hindley says he still “can’t believe” he won Giro d’Italia, a month on from the feat
  • The 26-year old is aiming for more glory at Vuelta a España and UCI Road World Championships in the next two months
  • The West Australian hopes to return home for a “big ride” in September with a warm welcome from the state government planned

While the 26-year-old cyclist from Perth has not been able to return home to celebrate his win just yet, Hindley has felt the groundswell of support from the Australian sporting community from afar.

“It’s still really crazy actually when I think about it. I still can’t believe it, to be honest,” Hindley said.

“I wasn’t [in Australia] but I felt a lot of support [from] everyone. It’s really nice when you have that support [from] a whole community. It’s really, really special.”

In May, Hindley became just the second Australian to win a grand tour, along with Cadel Evans’s Tour de France triumph in 2011.


And while things have quietened down off the road, the UCI WorldTeam Bora-Hansgrohe cyclist is more than aware of the significance of his win, which could lead to more opportunities among his sport’s elite: “100 per cent [it changes things].”

“It was really a massive achievement and a big dream of mine since I was a young kid to not only compete at a grand tour but, maybe, one day win one … to do that now at 26 is a real game-changer for sure,” he admitted.

“You know, it’s something you work for your whole career, your whole life.

“When you actually get that big result, I can’t describe it. I think it will open up some other doors and we’ll see what comes next.

“I always sort of had that self-belief and, yeah, it doesn’t really change much in that aspect … but to win a grand tour, I think it would give me a lot more confidence, especially in the next grand tours I do.”

Jai Hindley says the Giro d’Italia win has been a “game changer” for his career, becoming just the second Australian to win a grand tour.(Getty Images: Fabio Ferrari)

La Vuelta, home World Championships on the radar

Off the back of his historic feat, Hindley’s attention now turns towards the rest of the year, where he is eyeing off more glory in the third instalment of the grand tour at La Vuelta, in August, and a home UCI Road World Championships in September, set to be hosted in Wollongong.


Before Vuelta a España next month, there’ll be an altitude camp in which Hindley is already preparing for the 23-day journey with just two rest days.

Much has changed for Hindley since the last event in 2019, where he finished 32nd. Then, the race featured fellow Australians Jack Haig (third overall), and Michael Storer, who took out the mountains classification.

“It’s going to be a really hard race,” Hindley said. “A lot of the real strong [general classification] guys will be there, so it’s going to be a class field … guys from the Giro, guys who are doing the tour will be there.

“I think the level will be really high and, hopefully, I can be up there. That’d be pretty cool.”

After the gruelling, three-week race, Hindley says he’ll focus on the World Championships, with Australia due to host the event for the first time since 2010, when it was held in Geelong and Melbourne.

However, he’ll need to wait for selection to represent Australia, something he’s not taking for granted..

“I think everyone on the team will be worthy of this selection and I think they’ll take a class team to the race, so — hopefully — I can be there.

“If I can be there and wear the green and gold in Wollongong, that would be really a once-in-a-career-type race. That’d be really nice.”

The Western Australian government has also announced it will look to give Hindley a hero’s welcome home for the Giro d’Italia winner.

“Quite a few people have actually asked me what I thought would be good, and I think just a big ride or something would be nice, because then everyone can get involved: kids, parents, anyone who wants to rock up can do a bit of a ride and it’d be nice just to also see all these people that have been supporting me,” Hindley said.

“I think if we did something like that, it would be really nice.”

Although Hindley isn’t competing in the Tour de France this month, it’s in his sights for next year already.

Jai Hindley will target Vuelta a España and a home UCI World Championships this year in Wollongong as he looks to build on his success in 2022.(Getty Images: Sara Cavallini)

“It’s really hard to manage that physical load … next year I’d really like to go to the Tour,” he said.

“Whether that be helping someone else in the team or going for the result myself, then so be it.

“But I’d really like to go and just take in the whole experience and learn as much as I can, and also see what I can do at that highest level of cycling because it is the pinnacle of our sport … I’ve never done it before but I’m really keen to do it.”

Hindley cites Cadel and Porte as cycling idols

After winning the Giro d’Italia this year — one place better than his podium finish in 2020 — Hindley has reaffirmed his name among the elites in Australian road cycling, with Cadel Evans, Richie Porte and Jack Haig the only men to have placed on a podium on the grand tour.

When pressed about his place among those names, he is humble. 

“All those older pioneers of the sport of Australia I really look up to,” Hindley said.

“Especially guys like Richie and Cadel, when you look to them, they’re the exceptional riders.”

Hindley added that Australian mateship was something that couldn’t be taken for granted in sport, including camaraderie, respect and a supportive environment from mentors and idols.

“I spoke to Cadel, really for the first time, a couple of years ago when I was second at Giro. He sent me a really nice message before the [time trial]. He’d been in situations like that before, and he reached out and said if I needed someone to talk to then he was always going to be there.

“It’s really special. I don’t think you get that in too many other sports.

“It’s just really nice to have the support of those guys as well, because they were idols of mine.”

Just four Australian men have crossed the line for a grand tour podium finish: Jai Hindley, Jack Haig, Richie Porte and Cadel Evans.(Getty Images: Tim de Waele)

For now, though, Hindley is still riding high from his success in Europe.

“I think I’ve still got a few more bike races to win to be in the same category as those guys but, yeah, it’s really nice to be the first Aussie to win the Giro,” he said.

“To have my name in history books is really cool, but I’ve still got a lot of work to be up there with those guys. Still a bit of time to make that happen.”

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