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Aussie Hindley wins Giro mountain battle as Yates wilts

Roccamorice (Italy) (AFP) – Australian Jai Hindley won the first tough mountain stage of the Giro d’Italia on Sunday as Spain’s Juan Pedro Lopez just about held the overall leader’s pink jersey.

Bora rider Hindley edged big guns Romain Bardet, Richard Carapaz and Mikel Landa to the line, while British rider Simon Yates lost over 11 minutes on the final, steep 14km climb to Blockhaus, in the Abruzzo region.

With the Giro heading into a rest day on Monday, Lopez leads UAE’s Joao Almeida by 11sec with Bardet at 14, Carapaz 15, Hindley 20 and Landa 29sec adrift.

Carapaz’s Ineos team set the pace on this ninth stage where the riders got to the Blockhaus mountain after five sizzling hours in the saddle for a 13.6km test at 8.4 percent gradient.

The peloton was whittled down finally to six riders coming to the summit and a photo-finiah was needed to separate winner Hindley from Carapaz in second and Bardet third on the day.

“There was a right hander before the finish with around 200m to go. I wanted to take the corner first and gave it everything to the line – and here we are,” the 2020 Giro runner up Hindley explained at the line.

Frenchman Bardet regretted the finale.

“The result is hard to accept because I made a big error at the last corner,” he said.

Simon Yates was in trouble even before the climb and it may now appear that his day three time-trial win in Budapest was an unwise manouevre.

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