Vine defends its leadership and celebrates its first victory on tour

Simon Yates wins final stage Down Under

By Kevin Kemp

Jay Vine (UAE Team Emirates) on the winners’ podium of the Tour Down Under. | Photo: Cor Vos

01/22/2023 | (rsn) – Jay Vine (UAE Team Emirates) won the 23rd Tour Down Under (2nd UWT). The Australian, second in the King’s stage at Mount Lofty after 112.5 kilometers, defended his leader’s jersey ahead of today’s winner Simon Yates (Jayco – AlUla), who finished second overall at eleven seconds.

The lap podium was completed by the Spaniard Pello Bilbao (Bahrain Victorious / +0:27), who could not follow the first three in the last climb. Third in the stage, Ben O’Connor (AG2R Citroën) moved up to sixth place overall. The American Magnus Sheffield (Ineos Grenadiers) and the Swiss Mauro Schmid (Soudal – Quick-Step) landed in front of the Australian.

It was Vine’s first tour win of his career. He had to give his all with just under two kilometers to go when Yates went on the offensive. He parried his attack and at the same time finished second behind the Briton. “It’s pretty amazing to be here with this jersey. The way we drove here was first class,” said the 27-year-old, who was bought out of his current contract with Alpecin – Deceuninck by UAE, in the final interview.

In the final, Vine relied on the services of Marc Hirschi and George Bennett, who reached the finish line in the chasing group of 13, just six seconds behind. They had supported their new teammate to the best of their abilities and also secured the UAE tag team title. “They deserve the win as much as I do,” Vine said of his assists.

Yates: ‘I couldn’t do more’

Jayco – AlUla also showed a solid team performance, Michael Matthews not only got the points jersey, but also closed the gap with the last breakaways around Maximilian Schachmann (Bora – hansgrohe) at the foot of the climb final. “We came to this very ambitious tour. We didn’t take the overall victory, but we can still be happy with the stage”, summed up Yates at the finish. “There was nothing left for me. Only the prologue in the rain would have could have gone better. But a lot of other riders had the same problems.”

The Germans were very active in the final. When he attacked in the final, Schachmann had three compatriots with him when he broke away with nine other athletes and was caught eight kilometers from the finish. However, he was unable to top off his strong performance with a good day in placement. Jonasrutsch (EF Education – EasyPost), who was also part of these breakaways, was the best German to finish in 31st place. Impressive all week, Marius Mayrhofer (DSM) finished the stage seven positions behind him, but was the best German in the Tour Down Under in 21st place.

Dane Mikkel Honoré (EF Education – EasyPost) defended the mountain jersey with a one-point lead over Vine. Sheffield, 20, won the best young driver jersey.

Here’s how the race went:

Of the four and a half loops – including a full 25 kilometer – where Mount Lofty, first on the Tour Down Under schedule, was to be mastered five times, things were lively from the start. The attacks of Mountain King Honoré, Luke Plapp (Ineos Grenadiers) and Lluis Mas (Movistar) were foiled in the initial phase on Mount Lofty, crossed for the first time after nine kilometers.

In the descent, Schachmann, Michael Gogl (Alpecin – Deceuninck), Matthews and Reuben Thompson (Groupama – FDJ) escaped, so that Matthews was able to ensure the first intermediate sprint at Uraidla after 15 kilometers and thus extend his lead in the points. classification by three points.

It happened to the quartet soon after, but before the peloton had completed the first of four and a half laps and attacked Mount Lofty a second time, 13 riders pulled away with 92 kilometers to go. The Swiss Johan Jacobs (Movistar) and the Austrian Marco Haller (Bora – hansgrohe) were there, Victor Lafay (Cofidis) was the best placed driver in the standings with a delay of 5:18 minutes.

On the second pass over Mount Lofty, Jacobs was the first to cross the score line. Bahrain Victorious in particular controlled the action on the pitch. The Bilbao team never let the breakaways pass for more than a minute in the next lap.

On the penultimate climb, Ineos Grenadiers got serious. Among other things, Plapp upped the pace and caught the breakaways, the German Kim Heiduk also made a strong impression, did his part and came to the ridge in a heavily decimated peloton. However, Plapp secured the points, allowing the Australian champion to move up to second in the mountain standings.

The Germans were very active in the final

At 19 kilometers from the finish, Schachmann tried his luck again in an uphill section. Nine riders, including rutsch, Heiduk and Nikias Arndt (Bahrain Victorious), managed to catch up. The group not going well, Mattia Cattaneo (Soudal – Quick-Step) broke away. At the start of the final climb, the pursuers were able to catch up with the Italian, but the peloton was only 15 seconds behind.

Eight kilometers from the finish, the first set off. At this stage, the peloton only had about forty riders, but all the favorites were there. Yates launched his charge with a mile to go, only O’Connor and Vine could follow and together the trio held the pursuers at bay and sprinted for victory. Vine went first, O’Connor had to pass, but Yates passed his compatriot and crossed the finish line first.

Behind him, Antonio Tiberi (Trek – Segafredo) broke away from the chasing group and finished fourth ahead of Norwegian Sven Erik Bystrom (Intermarché – Wanty – Gobert) and Giro winner Jai Hindley (Bora – hansgrohe).

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