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Jai Hindley to miss Vuelta a España due to saddle sores

Jai Hindley (DSM) at the start of the Giro d'Italia
Jai Hindley (DSM) at the start of the Giro d'Italia (Image credit: Bettini Photo)

Jai Hindley will not participate in the Vuelta a España, with fellow Australian Chris Hamilton taking his place in the Team DSM squad for the race.

Hindley was provisionally named in DSM’s eight-man line-up last week and he returned to racing for the first time since May at the Clasica San Sebastian on Saturday, where he placed 26th.

On Monday, however, Team DSM announced that the saddle sore that forced the Australian’s abandon at the Giro d’Italia will now prevent him from taking the start of the Vuelta. 

Hindley hopes to instead participate in the Tour de Pologne, Bretagne Classic, Tour de Slovaquie and Il Lombardia between now and the end of the season.

“There have been ups and downs over the last few months and because of that we wanted to wait until closer to the Vuelta, once I’d also had a race in my legs, to make the final call,” Hindley said. 

“I felt good this weekend and like the form is really coming along, but after discussing with the team’s doctor, we decided that at this stage it’s sensible to focus on shorter races so we take no risks and things continue on this upward trend.

“Whilst it’s of course disappointing, we are all motivated to not let the hard work we’ve put in during the last period go to waste, so we will really go for it with my new program, which is built of shorter races where we feel that I can really bring value in as the team’s finisher. I am happy the team puts my wellbeing at the first priority and with the new program we have some great goals where I’m motivated to bring home some strong results for the team.”

Hamilton will also replace Hindley at this week’s Vuelta a Burgos. The five-day races doubles as the final warm-up event for the Vuelta a España, which gets underway in the city of Burgos on August 14.

Romain Bardet will headline DSM at the Vuelta a España, with Chad Haga and Michael Storer also set to feature in the eight-man team.

Hindley has endured a difficult season after enjoying a break-out year in 2020, when he placed second overall at the Giro after leading the race into the final time trial in Milan. Illness and injury forced the Perth native to abandon the Volta a Catalunya, Tour of the Alps and Giro d’Italia this year.

Hindley is expected to leave DSM when his contract expires at the end of this season and he has been linked with a move to Bora-Hansgrohe.

“The Vuelta is a big goal for the team, but at this stage, shorter races suit him best,” said DSM head of coaching Rudi Kemna. 

“We believe that Jai can pick up some good results as finisher for us with a program built of shorter blocks which suit his current capacity very well. In the background we have been preparing for this scenario and Chris has been training and working hard, so that he’s race ready for the Vuelta."