Bora-hansgrohe risk throwing away Jai Hindley’s general classification dream at the Giro d’Italia if they continue hunting stage wins, according to Eurosport experts Adam Blythe and Robbie McEwen.
Bora surprisingly sent two riders – Lennard Kamna and Wilco Kelderman – into the breakaway on Tuesday’s queen stage in the mountains, leaving Hindley with little protection.
Hindley was eventually isolated on the final climb despite still having team-mates up the road, with Kamna in the hunt for a solo victory before a late implosion saw Jan Hirt (Intermarche-Wanty-Gobert Materiaux) come through to take a first Grand Tour win.
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The Australian gamely battled to win a sprint for bonus seconds ahead of Richard Carapaz (Ineos Grenadiers), closing the gap on the Ecuadorian to just three seconds in the race for the maglia rosa.
But Bora’s scattergun tactics came in for heavy criticism on The Breakaway, with Blythe saying they risk derailing Hindley’s GC ambitions.
“We’ve got Hindley who’s in a great position, he’s absolutely flying. But then you’ve got the team who are obviously after stage wins as well and I don’t know what’s more important to them at the moment,” said Blythe.
“The team is saying: ‘we’re going to support you 100%... apart from the riders we’re going to send up the road’. I can imagine if that works it’s the best idea in the world but today it didn’t work.
“They had two riders in the break. The effort they’ve had to now make, especially Kamna, means they will be more tired going into tomorrow.”

Hirt ends wait for Grand Tour win, Hindley pips Carapaz to bonus seconds on Stage 16

On what Hindley should say to his team, Blythe continued: “If I was Hindley, I would be questioning a little bit. [He should be] like: ‘I don’t want you to concentrate on stages now, we could win the Giro here. Stop trying to get stage wins, we can win the whole thing.’
“There’s no right or wrong answer because the team is run on sponsorship and obviously winning [stages] is bigger, but if they go into tomorrow and the riders that have been in the break are a bit like, ‘I ain’t got the legs to really help you today’, you would be absolutely fuming with them.”
This is the closest edition of the Giro d’Italia after Stage 16 since 1963, when Diego Ronchini held a two-second lead over Vittorio Adorni.
“It looks a bit disjointed as a team considering Jai Hindley is almost in the lead of this Giro d’Italia,” continued Robbie McEwen, a 12-time stage winner at the Giro.
“I think they can do a lot more damage yet in this Giro though.”
Bora have already shown their strength when they shredded the peloton on Stage 14’s run around Turin, prompting Blythe to wonder why they appear to have abandoned those tactics.
“We need to remember on the stage into Torino when they all attacked together as a team, it blew everyone out of the water,” he said.
“They split the race to smithereens. There was no one left. Carapaz was isolated with 50km to go. They [Bora] can take it to Ineos and really put them on the backfoot.”
With five stages remaining – two trips to the mountains, one in the hills, a sprint stage and Sunday’s individual time trial – time is running out for the GC favourites.
Hindley will be keen to avoid a repeat of the 2020 Giro, when his only day in pink saw him immediately hand it to Tao Geoghegan Hart as he was cruelly denied on the final day time trial.

Are Ineos vulnerable?

‘Ineos are vulnerable’ – Carapaz should be worried about Bora, says Blythe

Ineos are renowned for protecting their GC leader at Grand Tours with their fabled train making it near-impossible for any rivals to attack off the front.
But Carapaz has regularly been spotted on his own in Italy, suggesting they are not as strong as previous races.
“I think Ineos are vulnerable,” said Blythe.
“When you look at the ride today, they all got dropped on the Mortirolo and then they all came back together – brilliant news for Richard. But after that they were coming home in ones and twos.
“And when you look at the riders that Bora have and what they did on the stage into Torino, they just split the whole thing up.”
Returning to his original argument about Bora, Blythe added: “If you look at Jai Hindley [on Tuesday], he had one or two team-mates with him. It’s better than nothing but I think the guys that went up the road could have done something and helped him a little bit more.
“If Carapaz was on his own, [they should] start really pushing on and getting rid of the other Ineos riders and putting Carapaz on the backfoot.”
In two of the last five editions of the Giro, the pink jersey has changed hands on a final-stage time trial – something Hindley needs no reminding of. Tom Dumoulin also snatched the title in 2017 despite starting the last day in fourth.

Carapaz was 'nervous' and will be 'gutted' with sprint on Stage 16

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