Jai Hindley wins Giro d’Italia, second Australian to win cycling Grand Tour

Jai Hindley Giro d'Italia
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VERONA, Italy — Jai Hindley accomplished what he so narrowly missed out on two years ago by sealing overall victory in the Giro d’Italia on Sunday — becoming the first Australian rider to win Italy’s Grand Tour.

Hindley finished 1 minute, 18 seconds ahead of 2019 champion Richard Carapaz following the concluding individual time trial, which finished next to Verona’s Arena, a Roman amphitheater.

The victory was all the more sweet for Hindley after he entered the final stage of the 2020 Giro wearing the pink jersey only to finish runner-up to Tao Geoghegan Hart. Hindley said that second-place finish haunted him for months afterward.

“I had in the back of my mind what happened in 2020 and I wasn’t going to let that happen again,” Hindley said.

Carapaz finished seven seconds ahead of Hindley in the time trial but Hindley had entered the final day with an advantage of 1:25.

“I was getting updates and I felt pretty good on the bike,” Hindley said.

Hindley struggled last year with injury and sickness and withdrew midway through the 2021 Giro due to a saddle sore.

“Last year was really, really hard and I really fought hard to be back here,” Hindley said. “But I didn’t know I would be fighting for the win.”

Limited because of COVID-19 regulations, Hindley hasn’t gone home to Perth, Australia, since before the pandemic.

“Two days ago I heard my parents were coming to the finish,” Hindley said. “I hadn’t seen them since the start of 2020 so it was really special today. At the end of the year I’ll go back home and savor every minute of it.”

Nothing went wrong for the Bora–Hansgrohe rider in this year’s race. Hindley won Stage 9 that finished with a punishing climb to Blockhaus, he gained a few seconds on Carapaz during the grueling 16th stage that went over the legendary Mortirolo pass, then he stormed into the lead in the penultimate stage on Saturday by dropping his overall rivals on the fearsome Marmolada climb.

In essence, Hindley was better or evenly matched with Carapaz on nearly all of the climbing stages.

Hindley’s climbing prowess was already evident in 2020 when he won the Giro’s “queen” stage over the Stelvio pass.

Now, the 26-year-old Hindley has joined Cadel Evans, the 2011 Tour de France champion, as the only Australians to win a Grand Tour.

Carapaz, the Ecuadorian who won Olympic gold last year and was celebrating his 29th birthday Sunday, was the pre-race favorite.

Spanish rider Mikel Landa finished third overall, 3:24 behind, and Vincenzo Nibali, the 37-year-old two-time Giro champion who plans to retire at the end of this season, finished fourth, 9:02 behind.

Hindley, wearing an aerodynamic pink-and-black helmet to go with his pink leader’s jersey, simply smiled and pumped his fist a few times after crossing the finish line.

As for the rest of the year, Hindley said he would consider racing the Spanish Vuelta then hopes to ride at his home world championships in Wollongong in September. He likely won’t race the Tour de France.

Italian rider Matteo Sobrero won the 11-mile time trial, which followed a technical route that included a fourth-category climb and an ensuing descent, in 22 minutes, 24.54 seconds.

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Eliud Kipchoge, two races shy of his target, to make Boston Marathon debut

Eliud Kipchoge Berlin Marathon
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World record holder Eliud Kipchoge will race the Boston Marathon for the first time on April 17.

Kipchoge, who at September’s Berlin Marathon lowered his world record by 30 seconds to 2:01:09, has won four of the six annual major marathons — Berlin, Tokyo, London and Chicago.

The 38-year-old Kenyan has never raced Boston, the world’s oldest annual marathon dating to 1897, nor New York City but has repeated in recent years a desire to enter both of them.

Typically, he has run the London Marathon in the spring and the Berlin Marathon in the fall.

Kipchoge’s last race in the U.S. was the 2014 Chicago Marathon, his second of 10 consecutive marathon victories from 2014 through 2019.

He can become the first reigning men’s marathon world record holder to finish the Boston Marathon since South Korean Suh Yun-Bok set a world record of 2:25:39 in Boston in 1947, according to the Boston Athletic Association.

In 2024 in Paris, Kipchoge is expected to race the Olympic marathon and bid to become the first person to win three gold medals in that event.

The Boston Marathon field also includes arguably the second- and third-best men in the world right now — Kipchoge’s Kenyan training partners Evans Chebet and Benson Kipruto. Chebet won Boston and New York City this year. Kipruto won Boston last year and Chicago this year.

American Des Linden, who won Boston in 2018, headlines the women’s field.

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2024 Tour de France to end with Nice time trial due to Paris Olympics

2024 Tour de France Nice
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The 2024 Tour de France will end on the French Riviera instead of the French capital because of the Paris Olympics.

The finish of cycling’s marquee race leaves Paris for the first time since 1905.

Tour organizers said on Thursday the last stage of its 111th race will take place in the Mediterranean resort of Nice on July 21. Five days later, Paris opens the Olympics.

Because of security and logistical reasons, the French capital won’t have its traditional Tour finish on the Champs-Elysees. Parting with tradition of a sprint on the Champs-Elysees, the last stage will be an individual time trial along Nice’s famed Promenade des Anglais.

The start of the 2024 race, which will begin for the first time in Italy, was brought forward by one week, a customary change during an Olympic year. The Tour will start on June 29 in Florence.

Nice has hosted the Tour 37 times, including its start twice, in 1981 and in 2020. Two years ago, the start was delayed until Aug. 29 due to lockdowns and travels bans during the COVID-19 pandemic.

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