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Australian Jay Vine’s first stage race title is his home tour

Simon Yates the first British runner-up in the Tour Down Under

Photo by: Sirotti

UAE-Emirates’ new Aussie Jay Vine is already paying dividends for the squad. On Sunday, the Australian time trial champion, who was awarded a contact with Alpecin-Fenix after winning the 2020 Zwift Academy, added the Santos Tour Down Under to two 2022 Vuelta a España stage victories on his palmares.

Vine winning his second stage of last year’s Vuelta a España.

The Course

After surviving Saturday’s echelons to keep the ochre jersey, Vine went into the final stage of the 23rd edition with a 15 second lead on both Simon Yates and Pello Bilbao. Sunday was a feast of evenly-spaced climbs over 112-km, including one straight from the start in Unley. The riders would then enter a 26-km circuit for four laps, each ending on 8.8-km, 3-percent Mount Lofty. This new Tour Down Under ascent had a final 1.5 km of 6.8 percent.

A 13-strong breakaway formed before the first KOM points of the day atop Mount Lofty. Behind, Bahrain-Victorious’ pace started to shell riders out the back. The escapees were reeled in on the last climb of Lofty.

After Jayco-AlUla increased the pace of the whittled-down peloton, Rohan Dennis was the first to attack. Yates’ bid for glory was with 1.8 km to climb, drawing Vine and Ben O’Connor. From this trio, Yates burst out to get the win, with Vine second, holding on to win the Tour Down Under by 11 seconds.

Simon Yates in the fourth British stage winner on the Tour Down Under. Photo: Sirotti

Yates, whose brother Adam also joined the powerful UAE squad of Tadej Pogačar, João Almeida and Juan Ayuso, is the third Brit to stand on a TdU final podium and the first to be runner-up. Bilbao’s Stage 3 victory and podium will give him wider wings for the beginning of the season.

Canada’s Derek Gee was 29th on the day, finishing 34th on GC.

The next round of the WorldTour is the one-day Cadel Evans Great Ocean Road Race on January 29.

2023 Tour Down Under Stage 5
1) Simon Yates (Great Britain/Jayco-AlUla) 2:41:16
2) Jay Vine (Australia/UAE-Emirates) s.t.
3) Ben O’Connor (Australia/AG2R Citroën) +0:02
42) Derek Gee (Canada/Israel-Premier Tech) +0:40

2023 Tour Down Under Final GC
1) Jay Vine (Australia/UAE-Emirates) 16:07:41
2) Simon Yates (Great Britain/Jayco-AlUla) +0:11
3) Pello Bilbao (Spain/Bahrain-Victorious) +0:27
34) Derek Gee (Canada/Israel-Premier Tech) +6:11