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Roglic wins the Dauphine - aided by key Aussie Hindley

Australian Jai Hindley is a cycling champ in his own right - but the former Giro d'Italia winner has been delighted to play a key support role in helping Primoz Roglic lift one of the sport's big prizes, the Criterium du Dauphine.

Hindley's efforts as one of Roglic's chief lieutenants allowed the Slovenian luminary to take the title on Sunday by just eight seconds after a final-stage scare in the week-long race which has so often been a good pointer to who may win the Tour de France.

Now Hindley, who wore the Tour de France yellow jersey briefly last year as team leader for BORA-hansgrohe, will be in Roglic's corner again as a super domestique when the Tour kicks off in Florence at the end of June.

Jai Hindley
Jai Hindley played a big part in Primoz Roglic's Dauphine triumph as a super domestique. (AP PHOTO)

"For the team, it's been really successful, even if for me personally, it hasn't been the best race, but I'm happy to be here and get some good racing in my legs before the big goal of the Tour," Hindley said before Sunday's dramatic final stage of the French race between Thones and Plateau des Glieres.

"It's been a pretty good race for us. If I had to compare to last year's Dauphine (when Hindley himself finished fourth overall), maybe not as good, but the Tour is still some time away and I think we should be good to go by then."

The main objective on Sunday had been to ensure that Roglic, the four-time Grand Tour winner, would be protected as race leader, as he held on to a 62-second lead over Team Visma/Lease a Bike's American star Matteo Jorgenson.

But while Hindley, who finished 20th overall, again did a good job protecting his Slovenian leader in the mountains, it couldn't stop Roglic suffering in a dramatic eighth and final stage won by Spain's Carlos Rodriguez (Team Ineos Grenadiers) just ahead of Jorgenson.

As Rodriguez and Jorgensen moved away from Roglic on the final ascent with five kilometres left, it looked as if the title might also be slipping away until the overall race leader rallied in the final push to the line and finished 48 seconds behind, enabling him to prevail by the narrowest margin.

The 34-year-old Roglic, who had won the previous two stages, added the title to the Dauphine he also won in 2022.

"It is a little crazy for me to win the Dauphine, after all that has happened before," said Roglic, who was caught up in a major crash in April at the Tour of the Basque Country and also had a spill on the fifth stage this week in a mass accident.

Roglic said. "I certainly suffered over the past three days."

The leading Australian over the week was Team Jayco AlUla's Callum Scotson, who finished 13th, 6:04 down on Roglic, after a series of excellent performances.

Belgian superstar Remco Evenepoel, who was also caught up in the Basque crash as well as Thursday's drama, ended up finishing seventh in the overall standings but he will expect to be much improved by the time of a fantastic-looking Tour which will feature Roglic and a seemingly unstoppable Tadej Pogacar.

Whether reigning champion Jonas Vingegaard, who has yet to compete again since he too was badly injured in the Basque accident, will compete is still open to doubt.