Australia

Aussie star wins Vuelta stage for first pro victory, but TV cameras missed the winning moment

He may never be able to see on film exactly how he did it, but the day he beat a host of cycling’s finest in La Vuelta a España will always be in the mind’s eye of Australian Jay Vine.

Amid the fog and driving rain on the mountain-top finish to the sixth stage at San Miguel de Aguayo, visibility was so wretched that TV cameras got no footage of the Queenslander earning the sensational first win of his professional career on Thursday.

Outriding a host of the world’s best in a Grand Tour felt so amazing to Vine, who has enjoyed a remarkable rise since winning a competition that identified future cycling talent, that the 26-year-old could only shake his head after the win. 

“It’s almost unreal,” the Queensland cyclist said.

The Alpecin-Deceuninck rider’s late attack from 10 kilometres out on the brutal final ascent proved decisive as he caught Ukraine’s lone breakaway hopeful Mark Padun with 6.5km left and then roared through the fog and rain, holding off a host of high-calibre pursuers.

At the finish of the 181.2km stage from Bilbao, there were no TV shots of the Townsville rider.

Jay Vine was thrilled to win his first stage, even if TV cameras could not capture it.(Getty: Tim de Waele)

“With 70km to go, I missed the break [and] I had a flat tyre in the first five kilometres,” Vine said. 

“And even though it was still the team’s plan for me to go on the final climb if the race came back together, it’s still unreal for me to be able to do that from the GC group — it’s incredible.

“I’ve been working towards this all year after coming so close last year [in a couple of other stages of the 2021 Vuelta] and it’s a dream come true.”

Vine, who said he was thinking of the sacrifices and efforts of his wife as he battled through the last kilometre, has enjoyed a remarkable couple of years since he earned a professional contract with his Belgian team.

Vine finished 15 seconds ahead of Remco Evenepoel, who at 22 became the youngest leader of the Vuelta since Ettore Pastorelli 34 years ago.

“I’m really happy and proud to be here,” Evenepoel said.

“What I showed today was one of the best things I’ve done on the bike.”

Evenepoel’s rise came on a bad day for race favourite and defending champion Primož Roglič, who lost time on the final ascent.

AAP

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