Jay Vine wins Tour Down Under as UAE Team Emirates begin season in fine style

Australian finished a bike length behind final stage winner Yates to seal the first World Tour general classification title of his career

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UAE Team Emirates began their 2023 season in fine style after Jay Vine claimed his first World Tour victory in the Tour Down Under on Sunday, with Simon Yates winning a thrilling uphill battle to take the race's final stage.

Australian Vine, who held the leaders jersey since Stage 2, kept his composure to follow all attacks on the final 112km from Unley to Mount Lofty (112km).

Yates (Jayco-Alula) hit out for victory with just over a kilometre to go, but Vine had the strength to match his efforts, finishing just a bike length behind the British rider but conceding no time.

It is 27-year-old Vine's first World Tour general classification title and continues his rise to prominence in world professional cycling after winning two stages at the Vuelta a Espana last year.

“It feels pretty incredible to be standing here wearing this jersey," said Vine, who joined UAE Team Emirates from Alpecin–Fenix ahead of this season.

"The way the team rode that race was first class, the guys were incredible and [sports director] Marco [Marcato] in the car was also always clear and giving us good instructions.

"It was pretty hectic at the start of the stage, we really had to be on our toes but I had good guys around me, the team was incredible and they deserve it as much as I do.”

Yates, the 2018 Vuelta a Espana winner, rolled the dice with 1.7km to go, and Ben O'Connor (AG2R Citroen Team) and Vine tacked on the end of the three-man breakaway in the dash to the finish.

Yates was forced to do all the work with one kilometre left and made another concerted effort to get away before Vine set sail for the stage win, only to be collared near the line by the dogged Englishman.

Yates said his team had come to the race "with a lot of ambition".

"We didn't walk away with the overall, but we can be really happy with the stage," he said. "Second overall was the best I could do, today was our last chance and we took it. Jay Vine is a massive talent and I'm sure that won't be the last we see of him."

Yates pulled back four seconds on Vine in the final stage to finish 11 seconds behind overall, with Spain's Pello Bilbao (Bahrain Victorious) third on 27 seconds.

American Magnus Sheffield (Ineos Grenadiers) finished in the lead bunch to secure fourth overall, 57 seconds down, and came away from a consistent week as the winner of the Young Rider's jersey classification.

Updated: January 22, 2023, 7:19 AM
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