The extraordinary rise and rise of Jay Vine continues, the 27yo Australian winning his first WorldTour event – the 2023 Santos Tour Down Under.
Not even a WorldTour professional that last time the Tour Down Under was held in January 2020, Vine said it felt special to win his first top-level race.
“To be able to have my first overall GC, my first race with my new team in my home country … it’s just indescribable,” he said.
Vine payed tribute to race legend Richie Porte, who he described as an idol in his formative years racing MTB and road amateurs.
“The last guy to win this was Richie Porte,” Vine continued. “He was an idol of mine, and to be standing here two years after he stood here is pretty special. It’s something I’ll remember for the rest of my career.”
Clearly enjoying his riding and racing, an upbeat Vine hinted that his best form is yet to come.
“This is just the start of my build for the year,” he said after the final stage. We will see what happens in the next few races.”
Jay Vine: The Story So Far
Now riding for UAE Team Emirates, Vine’s rise to the top-level pro ranks has been far from ordinary. The ‘23 TDU is his first race for his new team having spent the past two years – his first taste of the WorldTour – with Alpecin.
In 2022 he won the two toughest stages in the opening week of the ’22 Vuelta, but 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-level team for a year.
From The Home Trainer To The WorldTour
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.
On Friday January 20 he wore his first WorldTour leader’s jersey at Stage 3 of the 2023 Santos Tour Down Under. He held the lead on Stage 4, then finished 2nd to Simon Yates on the final Mt Lofty stage.
Clearly thrilled with his maiden WorldTour race win, he said it was a tough day in the saddle and thanked his new teammates at UAE Emirates.
In a new team, new colours and his first major victory, Vine said he was very proud to deliver his new team their first Tour Down Under overall win.
Less than a week after his maiden WorldTour win – his second consecutive victory after the Road Nationals TT victory, Vine said he was heading to Melbourne.
“Next up I’m heading to Victoria for the Cadel Evans Great Ocean Road Race, then four hours after that I’m on a plane back to Europe. I’m looking forward to getting back home. Then, if everything goes to plan it will be the ‘23 Giro d’Italia.”