Jai Hindley opens the Tour de France – News Block

Stage 5 of the 2023 Tour de France seemed like the obvious first day of the race for the breakaway to get on the board, so it came as no surprise that the fight to set the day break was fierce from the start and so tightly controlled. by the big dogs of the pack. Not today, Neilson PowlessJumbo-Visma said. Fred Wright, bring your back country here, UAE insisted. The peloton’s job is to catch any breakaway that is too big, too small, or too full of threatening riders, and it took a long time for that movement to form. It came as quite a shock that once it was formed, the break contained Jai Hindley, the third most respected general classification rider.

Giving Hindley just a three-minute strap would have been a bit confusing and unnecessary risky from the two teams in control of the Tour, with Jonas Vingegaard’s Jumbo-Visma shrugging and daring Tadej Pogacar’s UAE team to let Hindley walk or do all of the work, but Hindley also relied on two of his most able lieutenants, Patrick Konrad and Emmanuel Buchmann, to help keep the movement going. And he did, as Hindley put in the strongest opening statement of any of the contenders when he broke away on the final climb and rode solo to Laruns to claim the yellow jersey and put 47 seconds on Vingegaard. The first mountain stage of a wild Tour was marked less by Vingegaard’s duel with Pogacar and more by the appearance of a third contender, and perhaps even a fourth, as Giulio Ciccone was also allowed to join the podium of the general. Racing will only get better from here.

Hindley himself was surprised by the joint tactical mishap of his rivals. “I have no words, I can’t believe what happened,” he said after the stage. “I was surprised when I was part of the break, and the group didn’t really react. We decided to start working in the group and just have fun.” In Jumbo-Visma’s defense, letting Hindley and Ciccone fly was the price for destroying the United Arab Emirates. They also had Wout van Aert, Tiesj Benoot and Christophe Laporte at the break, so the potential to win a stage and have some helpers along the way to support whatever Vingegaard did was enough for Vingegaard and Sepp Kuss to sit down and UAE. burn all the matches within Hindley’s reach.

It worked perfectly, and by the time they reached the commercial end of the Col de Marie Blanque (where, coincidentally, Pogacar took his first Tour stage victory in 2020), they had isolated Pogacar and were prepared to tighten the screws. in it. Kuss set wicked pace and shredded all the remaining overall contenders except Pogacar, and when Vingegaard jumped near the same spot that Hindley dropped Felix Gall minutes earlier, Pogacar couldn’t match him. Buchmann and Ciccone hitchhiked Vingegaard as he alone was responsible for limiting the gap to Hindley, and while they burned the Dane in the sprint for additional seconds, Vingegaard dropped Hindley by 20sec and turned off Pogacar by a minute. He now has 53 seconds on his most feared rival after a mountain stage, and the only thing that has cost him has been 25 kilometers solo and the ascent of Hindley and Ciccone.

Will it all turn out to be worth it? Despite today’s mix, this was easily Jumbo’s strongest day yet. They looked nervous and overconfident through the first four stages, with Pogacar pulling away from Vingegaard on Stage 1, van Aert publicly melting down and throwing a tantrum a day later, and Jasper Philipsen snatching the first two stages in sprint fashion convincingly. But they’re specifically built to overwhelm Pogacar in the mountains, and they shone in that regard on Stage 5. Vingegaard said he wanted to test Pogacar, who hadn’t raced since April after breaking his wrist, and was surprised to have opened up a gap so big The defending champion won the first battle with Pogacar, who admitted he exposed himself but also expressed confidence in him, saying: “I think it’s going to be okay. It’s still a long way, I feel good, that’s the most important thing.”

The Tour’s first summit finish looms on Stage 6, and it comes at a perfect time. Hindley’s Bora-Hansgrohe team will theoretically be responsible for doing everything they can to defend the jersey and Ciccone’s Lidl-Trek team will likely shift their priorities a bit, but Jumbo and UAE remain the big dogs. Will Pogacar be able to fight back or at least show that he is to be feared for two more weeks? Can Hindley withstand what is sure to be an avalanche of pressure tomorrow? The first five stages of the Tour of the year have been as exciting as any in recent memory, and all the shaky gains will be put to the test for the first time on the slopes of Tourmalet and Col d’Aspin.

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