Jay Vine’s rapid rise to the ranks of the world’s top climbers has been far from typical. 25yo Vine, who has now won the two toughest stages in the opening week of the ’22 Vuelta, was doing the vast majority of his riding on his home trainer just three short years ago.
Vine beat hundreds of other indoor trainer riders from around the world to win the 2020 Zwift Academy, basically an online talent search competition with the grand prize being the opportunity to ride and gain invaluable experience with a top-tier team for a year.
From The Home Trainer To Grand Tour Podiums
After winning the 2020 Zwift Academy, Vine signed with Alpecin-Fenix. Together with his wife Bre, the pair moved from Canberra to the pro cycling Mecca of Girona in Catalonia, northern Spain.
In his first year he finished 2nd overall at the Presidential Tour of Turkey then scored a start in his maiden Grand Tour, the ’21 Vuelta.
One of his highlights of that debut Grand Tour was third place on Stage 12 – but that podium place was not without its drama. Vine had a serious crash with his team car with just over 30km or racing to go. Not one to give up easily, the bruised, battered and bleeding rider pedalled on, caught the bunch, got to the break and made the podium.
More Second Places
Earlier this year he again finished 2nd at the Tour of Turkey then scored the same result at the Tour of Norway. Fast forward to the Vuelta a Espana and he’s now won Stages 6 and 8 and wears the polka dot ’best climbers’ jersey.
“The team came in with a plan and I’m stoked to say we achieved it,” Vine said after his second stage win of the final Grand Tour of the year.
“With narrow roads, and a cheeky Cat 2 Climb early on, we knew it would be a chaotic start, with lots of riders wanting to get themselves in the move.
“The boys did an amazing job at controlling the front of the race & getting me up there. The goal on the first climb, was to maximize the KOM points, because to be honest, we had no idea what was going to happen next. Then over the top, Soler and I pushed on to force the gap, then later on we were joined by a few more break away riders. I got really lucky to have such a cohesive group that wanted to work together, but on top of that, having the tailwind in those vallies just made life so much easier for us to stay away.
’Trying To Find My Feet’
“I’m not going to lie, I’m still trying to find my feet when it comes to having all the interviews and attention on me,” Jay continued.
“Last year I got by with sharing my thoughts on the stage via Instagram, so everyone could get quotes that way, but obviously I can’t do that as much this time around.
“I can understand why GC leaders ‘Give away’ the Leaders jersey early on in tours, because there is just so much, and you never really appreciate how demanding it all is until you’re here. So massive kudos to them!”
Jay concluded by writing ” I’m looking forward to some more polkadot days.”