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Hindley wins Tour de France stage to take overall lead

Australian Jai Hindley celebrates winning the fifth stage in the Tour De France and earning the yellow jersey as the overall race leader. Picture: Martin Divisek.

Australia's Jai Hindley has said he is "lost for words" after a shock stage victory at the Tour de France earned him the leader's yellow jersey. On his debut in cycling's premier race the Perth rider broke away in the Pyrenees to win the fifth stage.

"It's really incredible and I've no words," said Hindley. "The guys on the radio were screaming... I just wanted to get as much time as possible and get the win.

"I didn't really know what to expect it's my first tour it's hard to come here with such massive ambition (to win it) already but I wanna be competitive and have some form of success and yeah, I just won a stage of the Tour de France."

Adding to his joy was the presence of his parents, who the 27-year-old saw on the route before launching his final, solo break.

"On the Soudet I started thinking about a stage win, at the bottom of the climb I also saw my parents which was really special and emotional," Hindley said. 

"When I attacked, everything went so fast, I knew I had a good chance, but I only started really believing on the home straight."

In winning Wednesday's 162.4km mountain trek from Pau to Laruns to take the lead from Briton Adam Yates Hindley has marked himself out as a major contender.

Last year's Giro d'Italia winner now leads from defending champion Jonas Vingegaard who came fifth on the stage to be 47 seconds down on Hindley. Vingegaard left behind two-time winner Tadej Pogacar on the final climb accelerating some two kilometres from the top.

"He was just too fast on the climb. I tried to hold on until the top but he was really, really strong. What an attack," said Pogacar of Vingegaard's late burst.

"There's nothing you can do when someone is stronger than you like that."

Pogacar, who is one minute 40 seconds behind Hindley, is now sixth with former leader Yates a few seconds ahead in fifth.

The first real mountain battle of the Tour lit up the race as Hindley got himself into a 36-man early breakaway with rival teams putting the pressure on Pogacar's UAE Team Emirates to close the gap in what turned into a fascinating tactical battle.

They struggled to do so as the break pulled as much as four minutes clear on the Col de Soudet midway through the stage.

Though the advantage would tumble later on, BORA-Hansgrohe rider Hindley broke away from his fellow escapees on the final climb of the Col de Marie Blanque for a significant victory.

"I can't believe it. I was pretty surprised to find myself in that group," Hindley added.

"I just sort of slipped into it. I was sort of having fun, then looked back and there was no group behind so I thought, 'I guess we're in for a bike race'.

"The gap grew out initially and I was just trying to maybe get a bit of a buffer on the GC (general classification) guys and then I started to think about the stage win."

Thursday's sixth stage is an another mountain ride over 144.9km between Tarbes and Cauterets featuring punishing climbs up the Col d'Aspin and Col du Tourmalet.

with agencies


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