Jai Hindley on the last mountain stage of the Giro d’Italia, performed once again at a high level, dropping and breaking the race leader Richard Carapaz on the steep finish to Passo Fedaia. Hindley did the fastest Passo Fedaia time since 2000, producing high watts to over 2000 metres at the very end of the three weeks around Hungary and Italy.
Faster than Marco Pantani in 1998
Passo Fedaia has been used many times in races. The full climb is 12.9 kilometres long and 7.8% steep, but the second part is the hardest one with 5.3 kilometres and 11.11% gradient, where it is impossible to hide weakness.
Passo Fedaia was done at an unexpectedly high pace from the start of the steep section, considering that Kelderman and Buchmann could not help Hindley and Landa had run out of domestiques. Surprisingly it was INEOS setting a very high tempo with first Ben Tulett and then Pavel Sivakov at the front. Obviously INEOS were not comfortable with Carapaz’ three second lead on Hindley and wanted to take more time from him.
Unfortunately for them, this plan backfired massively when Hindley attacked across to his Bora-Hansgrohe teammate, Lennard Kämna, who they used as a satellite rider. Kämna had been called back from the breakaway and once Hindley reached his wheel, already Landa was dropped and the German pulled on Passo Fedaia as hard as possible, distancing Carapaz with just Hindley in his wheel. After Kämna was finished, Hindley went solo and put a massive gap between him and everyone else, doing an insane 6.51 w/kg for 18:50.
For Carapaz, this seemed like a case of going over his limit and blowing up on the climb, compared to Landa who was initially dropped when Hindley first surged and then came past Carapaz to put nearly 40 seconds into him. With Hindley’s legs today it was inevitable that he would drop Carapaz on the steep slopes, but perhaps if Carapaz and INEOS had been more conservative on the climb, Carapaz would have a fighting chance to take back the lead in the time trial tomorrow.
This was the fastest edition of Passo Fedaia since 2000, when Francesco Casagrande did it two seconds faster. In 1998, Marco Pantani was two seconds slower than Hindley, but the record holder still remains Enrico Zaina. The Italian in 1996, when the 50% hematocrit rule was not yet introduced, climbed it in 18:27, pushing 6.73 w/kg. Hindley’s time is impressive, despite not beating peak EPO era times.
The stage before the final climb was hard with two big mountains, Passo San Pellegrino and Passo Pordoi, before it. Although, the tempo was not insane on the big mountains before Passo Fedaia, the stage before it was still hard. According to Emanuel Buchmann’s data, the GC group did 13.98 kj/kg/h for 4 hours and 30 minutes before the steep section of Passo Fedaia, which is a decent intensity especially considering the higher altitude.
Jai Hindley best performances
Passo Fedaia might be Hindley’s second or third best climbing performance so far in his career. What makes Passo Fedaia more impressive compared to Santa Cristina is the altitude, where it is harder to produce the same w/kg as at lower altitudes. All of Hindley’s top performances are from Italian races, Giro d’Italia (2022 and 2020), Tirreno-Adriatico or Tour of the Alps.
Hindley performs significantly better in Grand Tours than in one-week races. For example, this year in the Queen stage of Tirreno-Adriatico, stage 6 on Monte Carpegna, Hindley did only 5.87 w/kg for 21:12, losing to Tadej Pogačar 1 minute and 43 seconds. However with his Giro stage 20 legs he would easily follow the Tour de France champion and maybe even drop him as Carpegna is a low altitude climb. Hindley that day even lost time to Mikel Landa on the climb, while in Giro he was able to drop the Spaniard easily.
Almost no one expected Hindley to be so good this Giro. In betting markets before the race he was 10th biggest favourite with 51.00 odds to win (2% implied probability), mainly due to his 2nd place in the 2020 Giro and reasonable level in Tirreno-Adriatico. Hindley this year proved that the 2020 performance in the third week and on Piancavallo was not a fluke. Tao Geoghegan Hart, who beat Hindley in the 2020 Giro has not performed anywhere near that level again, after suffering numerous setbacks in the past 18 months including crashing heavily last year.
With Hindley’s 85 second lead on Carapaz going into the final 17km time trial tomorrow, it looks very unlikely that he will lose the maglia rosa in the final TT a second time. Carapaz is not a brilliant time trial rider and will need to take around 5 seconds per kilometre from Hindley. A brilliant heist from Bora-Hansgrohe and Hindley, who came into the Giro d’Italia under the radar and leave with stage wins and most likely the victory.