Hindley to the 1's
GP Capadardo is an Italian one-day race and known as the World Championships of Italy. The race runs riot around a chaotic beach circuit before hitting a second circuit that contains the telling climb. Every man either wants a piece of the break away or to show his stripes on the final climbs of the day. Also... there are 200 starters!
In the 2015 edition of the race Jai Hindley was riding for an amateur Italian team. The first year under 23 wasn't picked up by the national body but took a favoured Stanley Street Social approach of "taking the bull by the horns" and venturing abroad with an unknown Italian outfit. Just to be this deep (August) into the season in a positive headspace was a victory in my eyes. Hindley "boxed on" all day, continuously fighting for position, manoeuvring himself through the anarchical 200-man peloton like an established processional. His performance (26th) was admirable but his racing skills were exceptional.
Back to the start of 2015, Hindley, at the ripe old age of 18, shipped himself to a new country, to live with a 70 year old foreign man, race on an Italian team and just to put the cherry on the cake, no one on the team spoke a word of English! As stated before, he was taking the bull by the horns. It was here that he was going to spend the next six months in pursuit of professional success. On smaller budget teams, "luxury" services, a la, coaching, sport science, mechanics and massage, are not as readily available. Alas, Hindley almost destroyed himself physically. "I raced 2-3 times a week and trained the house down every day in between. It was a miracle I didn't run myself into the ground". And mentally? "Although the racing was mint. Living with a 70 year old Italian who doesn't speak a word of English, for six months is well and truly head cracking" But in August that year Hindley was in the depth of the European season, with a positive mentality and attacking one of the biggest race on the Italian calendar - kudos.
Hindley grasped his first year as an under 23 which, for mine, says a lot about him as an athlete. It's very easy as a first year to take the "I'm learning" excuse and remove yourself from the deep water. But the boy from Perth took on a monster challenge and came out of 2015 an elite under 23 rider. I think this sums up his personality - a driven but appreciative young man. "The dream of maybe one day becoming pro and the endless support of family and friends back home was the sole reason my head didn't roll off. But looking back, it was probably the best life experience I've ever received and I'm super grateful to Aran Cucine (Italian team) for even giving me the opportunity to race."
At the close of the 2015 Hindley still didn't have a contract in hand and hit the Australian summer as many budding professionals do. "I went into the Aussie summer with a do or die attitude to make the U/23 national program." At the close of summer Hindley had a national team contract and an invaluable year as an amateur under his belt. "Coming to Europe with the Aussie team was the dream! I was very appreciative of the set up and was keen to show that I deserved a spot so I put my head down and worked so hard for the whole year."
Back at GP Capadarco a year later, Hindley crossed the line covered in confetti to take out the 2016 edition. He's a grafter and last week he very deservingly signed on the dotted line for Team Sunweb.
See you back at the social club,