Jai Hindley, Australia’s big hope at the Giro d’Italia, has had to abandon the race after losing his “unbelievably painful” battle with a serious saddle sore.
Team DSM announced on Saturday that their Perth rider, who made a remarkable breakthrough by finishing runner-up at the Giro last year, had been forced to quit ahead of a forbidding 14th stage which ends on the infamous Monte Zoncolan.
“I’m disappointed. This is obviously not how I wanted my Giro to end,” said Hindley, who’d been far from his best during the first two weeks of the race as his condition worsened.
“The team have really put in a lot to try and help, but the situation isn’t improving and I really can’t continue anymore.”
There had been high hopes that 25-year-old Hindley, who was promoted to DSM’s co-leader alongside French star Romain Bardet, could emulate his 2020 achievement when he delivered the best-ever Giro performance by an Australian.
The bottom line
But DSM’s physician Anko Boelens reported: “Jai has been suffering pretty hard over the last few days with an ischial hygroma – a saddle sore.
“Whilst we had hoped things would improve, his condition has deteriorated significantly after the stage yesterday.
“His pain levels are no longer tolerable and with some huge days in the mountains coming up, he cannot continue the race like this.”
Hindley, who’d been in the saddle for more than 53 hours over the fortnight with the hardest week still to come, was lying in 25th place in the general classification, 17 minutes and 42 seconds behind the leader.
His efforts while battling through the pain barrier earned him high praise from the team’s coach Matt Winston.
“The grit and determination that Jai has shown to try and get through the last few days is a real testament and credit to who he is as a bike rider,” said Winston.
“He has battled against an unbelievable amount of pain to try and bring value to the team in the way that he had hoped.
“It’s been a really difficult decision for both the team and Jai to make and we will miss him – but it is absolutely the right one.”
Hindley, who’s returning to his European base in Girona, Spain, to recover, is the second Australian luminary to quit the race following sprint star Caleb Ewan’s abandonment last week with knee pain after winning two stages.