Alberto Bettiol wins time-trial prologue at Tour Down Under Australia’s Jay Vine wins Tour Down Under France’s Coquard wins Tour Down Under Stage 4; Vine leads

ADELAIDE, Australia. Italian cyclist Alberto Bettiol took advantage of an early start and a dry track to win the 5.5km prologue in the Tour Down Under time trial.

Bettiol was the fourth of 139 riders who started on the narrow winding track along the Torrens River in central Adelaide. He set a time of 6 minutes 19.73 seconds and then sat for over two hours as none of the later riders managed to improve his time.

It began to rain shortly after he finished, making conditions slippery for many riders. Later in the stage, the track briefly dried out, but it started to rain again before the final.

Bettiol’s last stage victory came at the 2021 Giro d’Italia. He also won the Tour of Flanders in 2019.

“I am very happy and at the same time very lucky,” said Bettiol. “I knew I could do well, but definitely not win.

“There were a lot of top riders, especially on such a short track. But Australia helped me, the weather helped me, and I really appreciate the effort my team put in to give me the best product, the best material, the best support.”

Bettiol finished eight seconds ahead of American driver Magnus Sheffield, with Danish rival Julius Johansen two seconds behind for third.

On the first away leg, Bettiol will wear the tour leader’s buffy jersey. The 150 km stage begins and ends in the town of Tanunda in the Adelaide Hills, passing through the Barossa Valley wine region.

“I love this race and I will be very proud to wear the Tour Down Under jersey tomorrow morning,” Bettiol said. “This is the prologue and the real race starts tomorrow.”

ADELAIDE, Australia — Australia’s Jay Vine defended his overnight lead and won the Tour Down Under, the opening event of the 2023 World Tour.

Simon Yates of Britain won the final stage and moved up from third to second overall. Vine placed second on the stage, securing the biggest stage win of his career.

The Emirates rider from the UAE led the Tour overall standings, finishing second in Stage 2 and third in Stage 3. He advanced to the final stage with a 15-second lead in the overall standings.

The 70-mile stage included four laps of a 15.5-mile course through the Adelaide Hills before finishing just behind the top of Mount Lofty.

Yates led the decisive attack on the climb less than 1.9 miles from the finish, but Vine jumped on his wheel and was joined by Australian Ben O’Connor.

O’Connor led close to the finish line, with Vine briefly overtaking him, but Yates took the lead to take the stage victory. Vine maintained his overall lead and took the title in his debut appearance on the Tour Down Under.

The 27-year-old made a name for himself in esports before being signed by the UAE team after winning an academic program on online platform Zwift. Last year he won two stages of the Vuelta a España and the Australian time trial title.

“It’s incredible to stand here and wear this jersey,” Vine said. “The way we drove was first class. My guys were incredible.”

13 riders pulled away in the final stage, but Vine’s teammates from the UAE led the peloton chase and gave their rider the opportunity to contest the win.

Yates again ran an aggressive race but had to be pleased with the stage win.

“We came to Down Under with big ambitions. We put a lot into it and it didn’t work out for us overall, but we can walk away very happy,” Yates said. “Obviously Jay Vine is a huge talent and the public will be happy to have a local winner.”

ADELAIDE, Australia — French cyclist Brian Cockade won stage 4 of the Tour Down Under, his first World Tour victory, while Australian Jay Vine retained the overall lead by 15 seconds with a stage to spare.

Cockarde is a lightweight sprinter with 49 victories in his ten-year career but never won a World Tour until he crashed closer to the finish line and cleared the 82-mile stage with a margin of just over 100 feet.

Vine was among the leading group to share Coquard’s win time and maintain their overall lead over Britain’s Simon Yates and Germany’s Phil Bauhaus. The race culminates in Stage 5, which ends at the top of 2,329-foot Lofty Mountain.

“I have been waiting for this victory for a long time, 10 years,” said Kokar, who plays for the French team Cofidis. “I never expected and I am very happy and delighted with this victory.”

Although the stage was flat and suitable for sprinters, it had its own problems. Crosswinds and occasional inclines made the stage difficult and confusing for some riders.

After an early break from Jonas Ruch and former tour winner Daryl Impey of South Africa, the peloton split into two groups, with Vine and the other tour leaders entering the lead group.

The lead group stayed together through the last tight turn to the finish line, and Cockarde waited until his late sprint left the other riders by surprise.

“It was a pretty stressful period,” Vine said. “There was one moment, I thought we were going to have an easy day, and I was happy, smiling, waving to the families on the side of the road.

“Then it was 45 kilometers and it went on until the end, so it was a very hard day. A lot more calories were burned than I planned.”


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