March 24, 2023

LA VIANA, Spain (AP) — Jay Vine is having fun at the Vuelta in Spain.

On Saturday, the Australian won his second stage of the Tour de France and his first Grand Tour victory by overcoming a puncture.

Vine impressed on the gruelling final ascent, beating Marc Soler, Rein Taaramae and Thibaut Pinot by more than 40 seconds on the foggy eighth stage in northern Spain.

“It’s incredible,” said the Alpecin-Deceuninck driver. “After the first time, I had more confidence. I took that monkey off my back. I enjoyed it today. It was a fun day.”

Remco Evenepoel, second to Vine on Thursday’s sixth stage, crossed the finish line in fifth place, maintaining the red jersey for the leader. He was 1 minute 20 seconds behind Vine, but joined his main challenger in the overall standings, Enric Mas, and three-time defending champion Primoz Roglic.

Overall, Evenepoel is 28 seconds ahead of Mas and 61 seconds ahead of Roglic. Rudy Molard was 21 seconds behind second place at the start of Saturday’s tough mountain stage, but was nearly 10 minutes behind.

“Apart from the two most important people, Primoz and Enric, I spent a lot of time,” said Belgian driver Evenepoel from the Quick-Step Alpha Vinyl team. “But it’s nice to see Primoz being really strong today, it’s nice to see him like that. It’s good for the game. I just tried my best. My team was fantastic today and we were in control from the start Well, it’s not easy.”

Roglic, who won his fourth consecutive Tour de France title, had his preparations marred by a fall at the Tour de France.

Riders face another tough mountain stage in Asturias on Sunday.

“I’m very happy with how I feel today,” Evenepoel said. “I hope I recover well because tomorrow I will need super fresh legs again.”


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