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Cycling: Giro win eases pain of 2020 near miss for Australian Hindley

ROME (REUTERS, AFP) - Eleven years after Cadel Evans claimed his first and only Grand Tour victory, Jai Hindley became Australia's second winner of one of cycling's three major three-week races with a cathartic victory at the Giro d'Italia.

Having been pipped to the title in 2020 by Tao Geoghegan Hart in the final time trial, Sunday's (May 29) win represented a welcome comeback for the 26-year-old after a year lost to illness and injury.

It was also the sweetest of family reunions for Hindley, who lifted the trophy in front of his parents after not having seen them since the start of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Before Sunday, he hadn't seen his family since after the Sun Tour way back in February 2020, after which he was in his home town of Perth "for less than 24 hours" before heading back to Europe.

"I didn't know that was the last time I was going to be back home for a couple of years," Hindley told reporters.

Prior to pulling on the Giro's pink jersey, Hindley had been one of only three Australians other than Evans to stand on a Grand Tour podium since the elder-statesman's groundbreaking Tour de France success in 2011.

"When you're from Australia, and you're a professional cyclist, I think you have to be pretty tough mentally," Hindley said on Sunday.

"I think a lot of people take for granted how hard it actually is. It's not like I can just jump on a... flight on a weekend and we go back home for 50 euro or something. It's not possible. When you throw Covid into the mix it's really hard.

"Last year, I really got beat around a lot on the bike and off the bike and it was a tough year. I think I came out better for it. I'll go home and savour every minute of it."