Having spent the day in the breakaway, Team Sunweb’s Jai Hindley raced to 10th place on a tough stage 5 of Itzulia Basque Country.
Jai joined a strong breakaway of 13 riders in the first half of the 164km stage to Eibar, an escape group that worked hard to build an advantage of over five minutes before the first of three tough climbs in the second half of the day.
After splitting on the first of the three climbs, 8.1km at 6.9%, the break came back together after the descent, before heading into the final ascent together, a testing 6.1km climb at 7.2% average gradient. The GC favourites started to attack from behind, gradually bridging across to what was left of the front group, and it was a select group of riders mixed of the original breakaway and the GC leaders that fought out the stage honours. Jai held on strongly for a top 10 after a big day at the front of the race, coming across the line 1’27” after the stage winner.
After the stage, Jai told us: “I slipped in the break as our plan was to be there today. I was always in the top 30 in the beginning and this worked well. Once there, it was hard in the break the whole day. It was a good experience for me to be up there in the final riding for a result. I am feeling relieved I could pull this off in such a hard race in my first year.”
Team Sunweb coach Aike Visbeek added: “With all the guys we were focused on a stage result today, and for that we needed to be in the break. Everyone was up there from the start, riding sharp and focused like we planned. Jai made it in the break and he did a good race.
“I am proud of the team’s way of riding and their spirit today. It is good to see that one of our young talents shows himself in such a hard stage, managing to ride for a result among a strong group of riders. This was a hard day but it is a good sign for the future and I see the guys growing day-by-day.”