Australia’s Jay Vine wins Tour Down Under France’s Coquard wins Tour Down Under Stage 4; Vine leads Bilbao wins Tour Down Under Stage 3, Vine leads overall

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.”

ADELAIDE, Australia. Spain’s Pello Bilbao won the tough third stage of the Tour Down Under, with third-placed Jay Vine ahead of the 15-second leader overall.

The third stage, which favored climbers over sprinters, was decided on a short but steep spin uphill not far from the finish line.

Bilbao took part in a breakaway with Britain’s Simon Yates and Vine en route to the final climb, stayed with them on the descent and jumped off Vine’s wheel to cross the finish line ahead of Yates.

Australian Rohan Dennis, who had been leading the overall standings by three seconds after winning Thursday’s second stage, had an accident before the final climb and was unable to rejoin the leaders.

The 116.8 km (72.5 mile) stage between the suburbs of Norwood and Campbelltown through the Adelaide Hills had three of the toughest climbs on the tour at the top of Norwood, Checker Hill and, shortly before the finish line, the infamous spin which has a gradient with steepness up to 24%.

The first rise occurred shortly after the start and allowed us to break away ahead of schedule. Fabio Felline of Italy and Mikkel Honore of Denmark took the opportunity to quickly break away from the peloton.

They were caught by the peloton after the second climb, and the peloton stayed together until the steep and narrow Corkscrew climb, where Vine and Yates left for the first time. Bilbao of Team Bahrain Victorious took them on boldly and showed his proven ability to win stages. He has already won two stages of the Giro d’Italia.

“Yesterday we were a bit disappointed because the race didn’t go as we expected,” said Bilbao. “Today I had a good day, short with an explosive peak and also a steep descent to the finish line.

“I had some difficulties to join Yates and Vine. In the last 300 meters I knew it would be a little easier and I just ran the sprint knowing that I would have good opportunities. They looked at the result, and I looked at showing my best sprint.”

The race continues with stage four on Saturday before finishing on Sunday at the top of 710 meters (2,329 ft) Lofty Mountain.


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