Rolf Aldag had not planned at all for Jai Hindley to wear the yellow jersey in the Tour de France. Nevertheless, the sports director of the top German team Bora-hansgrohe could hardly be happier that his captain is leading the most important cycling race in the world.
"It can't be a bad tour anymore. It doesn't matter what else happens. And we still have a lot to do," said the 54-year-old. It's even possible to leave the Pyrenees wearing the yellow jersey - given a few factors.
That's how difficult Thursday will be
At the end of the Pyrenees doubles, things really get down to business again. On the 144.9 kilometers to the top of the mountain in Cauterets-Cambasque, around 4000 meters in altitude have to be mastered - right in the middle of the notorious Col du Tourmalet. "There are certainly stronger teams than us for the Tourmalet. But I'm sure each of us will kill ourselves to get as far as possible," said Aldag.
That's how good the competition is
Defending champion Jonas Vingegaard, as the first Pyrenean stage has shown, is probably in a league of his own. Behind them, no one stands out, not even two-time Tour champion Tadej Pogacar. If Hindley recovers well and Vingegaard isn't keen on the yellow jersey just yet, the world's most coveted cycling jersey can stay with Bora.
That's how strong Jai Hindley is
With his overall victory at the Giro d'Italia last year, the Australian rose to the top of the world tour racers. This year he has subordinated everything to the tour. "I've been living like a monk for the last two months," Hindley said. Already at the beginning of May he meticulously inspected the two Pyrenees stages. Aldag: "Jai knows every meter. He could also do the briefing on the bus."
That's how important Emanuel Buchmann is
The German champions are stronger than they have been since fourth place in 2019. If it weren't for Hindley's helping duties, the 30-year-old would probably be in position to finish in the top 10 this year. But Buchmann repeatedly made it clear that he was completely at the service of the Australian. He knows the Tourmalet very well, where he attacked in the last kilometer on his Gala Tour four years ago and was briefly in the lead.