Jai Hindley felt a sense of déjà-vu as he collected himself on the start ramp in Verona, about to set off on the final time trial in the pink of overall Giro d'Italia leader. He had been here before, of course - not in Verona but in this very situation just two years ago.
On that day in Milan, he ended up back in his standard team colours and down on the second step of the podium.
“I wasn’t gonna let that happen again,” Hindley said on Sunday evening, having ensured just that.
Hindley this time finished the job to seal the maglia rosa and win the first Grand Tour of his young and increasingly promising career.
“It a beautiful feeling,” he said. “There were a lot of emotions out there today. I had in back of my mind what happened in 2020, and I wasn’t gonna let that happen again, to be honest.
“To take the win is really incredible.”
Whereas two years ago Hindley had started the final time trial tied on time with Tao Geoghegan Hart, a superior time triallist, this time he enjoyed a relatively comfortable buffer of 1:25 over a different Ineos Grenadiers rider, Richard Carapaz.
He’d prized open that buffer in dramatic fashion at the top of the Marmolada the previous afternoon but he didn’t end up needing much of it.
He produced arguably the best time trial of his career to place 15th on the stage, conceding just seven seconds to Carapaz. He was one second down at the top of the mid-course climb, which gave him the confidence he could finish it off.
“I was getting updates and I felt pretty good on the bike - I wasn’t really fighting it - so I knew I was on a decent ride,” Hindley said. “In the end, I took the descent pretty cautiously and then gave it everything to the line. It’s an incredible feeling.”
Hindley stepped onto the podium Sunday to lift the Trofeo Senza Fine - the never-ending trophy - as part of the Grand Tour winners club. It his first, but also the first for his Bora-Hansgrohe team, born as a lower-level German outfit over a decade ago.
But there was also history for an entire nation, as he became the first Australian winner of the Giro d’Italia and only the second to win a Grand Tour after Cadel Evans’ Tour de France success in 2011.
“It’s really incredible,” Hindley said, repeating himself but this time becoming emotional.
“I’m really proud to be Australian. And yeah, happy to take this one home.”
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Patrick is an NCTJ-trained journalist, and former deputy editor of Cyclingnews, who has seven years’ experience covering professional cycling. He has a modern languages degree from Durham University and has been able to put it to some use in what is a multi-lingual sport, with a particular focus on French and Spanish-speaking riders. Away from cycling, Patrick spends most of his time playing or watching other forms of sport - football, tennis, trail running, darts, to name a few, but he draws the line at rugby.