Jai Hindley pivots toward Tour de France and yellow jersey

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This article originally appeared on Velo News

Just days after winning the Giro d’Italia, Jai Hindley is already setting his sights on the yellow jersey and the Tour de France.

The Bora-Hansgrohe captain’s emphatic Giro victory against Ineos Grenadiers and Richard Carapaz cemented on the Passo Fedaia showdown only fuels his growing grand tour confidence.

“For sure, why not? Never say never,” Hindley said when asked if could win the Tour. “That would be the ultimate dream. I am not going to say it’s not possible.”

Cycling’s biggest prize is the yellow jersey, and the 26-year-old is flying sky high after becoming the first Australian to win the Giro and only the second to win a grand tour.

Before winning the Tour, however, Hindley needs to start the Tour.

In five years as a pro, Hindley’s raced five grand tours, including four editions of the Giro -- finishing second in 2020 and winning in 2022 -- and one edition of the Vuelta a Espana in his grand tour debut in 2018.

Throughout his meteoric rise, he’s never started the Tour.

He’s hoping to change that soon.

“The biggest [goal] would be to ride the Tour,” Hindley said Tuesday. “This is my fifth year and I’ve never ridden the Tour. That would be a huge step forward. Not necessarily riding for GC, but just riding the Tour is super special, so maybe next year. That would be pretty awesome.”

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Hindley spoke to the media in a Zoom call Tuesday before checking out to absorb and savor his dramatic Giro win.

On Sunday, he saw his parents for the first time in more than two years due to the COVID lockdown, and is going to spend the next week or two enjoying a vacation with his girlfriend.

Where? Italy, of course.

“I love this country and I am just going to relax and enjoy the moment,” Hindley said.

“It was pretty full-gas from the moment I crossed the line,” he said. “I didn’t have time to do anything. It was full-gas interviews, the presentation, and then we had a big party afterwards. The highlight for me beyond winning the race was to have my parents and girlfriend, especially my parents, whom I had seen in such a long, long time. That was so special.

“It really hasn’t sunk in yet, but it will in the next few weeks. It’s still feels like a dream.”

Hindley, who joined Bora-Hansgrohe this year on a three-year contract, said a Tour de France start is unlikely for 2022.

Instead, he will return to the Vuelta in August, and will “raise my hand” to race the 2022 road cycling world championships in Australia in September.

“I would love to do the worlds, but every Aussie pro would say yes,” Hindley said. “I would put my hand up to do it because I think it’s going to be a super hard race, with 280km and a lot of climbing.

“I think it’s going to be a tough race, as the worlds is every year,” he said. “It would be special to be part of that team. I don’t know will be going that time of year. Normally I would do the Vuelta, and it would be nice to go back to Australian after almost three years.”

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