Jai Hindley wins stage five of the Tour de France solo as Jonas Vingegaard drops Tadej Pogačar

Hindley now leads the race overall from Vingegaard, with Pogačar down in sixth at 1.40

Jai Hindley wins stage five of the 2023 Tour de France
(Image credit: David Ramos / Getty)

Tour debutant and GC hopeful Jai Hindley had a day to remember at the Tour de France, winning the mountainous stage five, taking the yellow jersey and throwing his GC rivals into disarray.

It was arguably defending champion Jonas Vingegaard (Jumbo-Visma) who benefited the most though, dropping co-favourite Tadej Pogačar decisively, putting more than a minute into the UAE Team Emirates rider by the finish.

By the end of the day, having attacked breakaway rival Felix Gall (Ag2r-Citroën) on the climb of the Col de Marie-Blanque and ridden 20km solo to the finish, Hindley (Bora-Hansgrohe) sat in yellow, 47 seconds ahead of second-placed Vingegaard and 1.40 ahead of Pogačar in sixth

"I was sort of improvising out there and enjoying some bike racing and just managed to find myself in that group," Hindley said after the stage. 

"It's really incredible, I have no words," he added, the emotion clear to see on his face.

In terms of aiming for potential overall victory, he said: "It's my first Tour de France... It's hard to come here with such massive ambitions already but for sure I want to be competitive.

"I've just won a stage of the Tour de France mate, it's pretty incredible," he added.

The stage, the first major mountains of the Tour de France, was a 162km outing from Pau to Laruns in the Pyrenees, taking in the hors-cat Col de Soudet and the cat-one Col de Marie-Blanque along the way.

It wasn't a summit finish, with 18km to ride from the top of the final mountain, the Marie-Blanque, to the chequered flag in Laruns.

With that long run-in, plus the fact that this was only the fifth stage, few would have predicted today being the day that would detonate the general classification so emphatically. But after Hindley managed to place himself in that 37-man early break (which took around 30 chaotic kilometres to get established), the blue touch paper was lit.

The break was never given a very long leash and perhaps Hindley's GC rivals thought the race would naturally come back together over the big mountains. But when that didn't happen, Vingegaard, Pogačar and their teams were forced to show their hands. And when they did, it was clear whose was strongest.

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After cutting his teeth on local and national newspapers, James began at Cycling Weekly as a sub-editor in 2000 when the current office was literally all fields. 

Eventually becoming chief sub-editor, in 2016 he switched to the job of full-time writer, and covers news, racing and features.

A lifelong cyclist and cycling fan, James's racing days (and most of his fitness) are now behind him. But he still rides regularly, both on the road and on the gravelly stuff.