It was a hovering begin for Jay Vine‘s 2023 season as he powered to the green-and-gold stripes of the Australian nationwide time trial champion’s jersey and backed it up with a maiden WorldTour stage race victory on the Santos Tour Down Beneath.
He was flying. Vine continued on the identical fast-track trajectory that noticed him leap from continental groups in Australia to the Zwift Academy title in 2020, after which to finish new heights in his second season at Alpecin-Fenix with a brace of Grand Tour victories on the 2022 Vuelta a Esapaña.
Regardless of securing an extension to his contract at UAE Group Emirates till 2027, the remainder of the season was removed from plain crusing – “eventful” was how Vine summed it up when speaking to Cyclingnews. A knee damage and Grand Tour crashes took the shine off what was a unbelievable begin to his time at one of many sport’s largest groups.
The latecomer to the skilled ranks isn’t dwelling on the previous, now with 2024 firmly on his thoughts as he will get uncommon time away from the stringent WorldTour routine for a vacation within the UK, taking in Stonehenge, Tub and the thrill of a full English obtain.
“I’d sum 2023 up as eventful. A lot of numerous stops and begins, however hopefully I can have a very good rhythm for 2024 and if I can preserve a very good January going by the remainder of the yr it’ll be good,” Vine instructed Cyclingnews at Rouleur Stay.
Vine mentioned the Tour Down Beneath being in January meant “it did not actually really feel like I would carried out it this season. Perhaps if it had occurred in June, and even, you understand, Might, it will’ve felt like I’d carried out at the least half the season, not simply the primary month.
“It exhibits how shortly one damage can change the yr. However I imply, I am proud of how the season went,” Vine mentioned. “On the finish of the day, I secured two main targets of my very own – sporting inexperienced and gold and profitable [Tour] Down Beneath, which is unbelievable.”
He’ll be again in Australia in January to defend his title and the ochre jersey, which was the huge spotlight of a tricky yr.
It was the Grand Excursions the place Vine was most dissatisfied, coming into the Giro undercooked off the again of his damage however nonetheless wanting sturdy within the first week. Nonetheless, a crash on the moist and depressing stage 10 ended his GC problem with the Australian being reasonable in his interviews about his lack of need to work his method again into the highest 10 because it wouldn’t transfer the needle for him.
Vine’s humility was comprehensible with the GC state of affairs now pigeonholing right into a domestique position for João Almeida, which he carried out dutifully, however he was after all nonetheless left wanting extra having not been capable of present his finest.
“I used to be nonetheless pissed off after the Giro, simply wanting to place a very good race collectively,” mentioned Vine. “If I am crushed on the day by higher riders, that is fantastic, however I simply need to have the ability to present my finest efficiency on the day and I simply felt like till stage 7 at [Tour of] Turkey, I wasn’t capable of really do this.”
Vine bookended his tumultuous season with the win to which he referred in Turkey, alongside the King of the Mountains jersey, however even that victory wasn’t with out incident. He did not vindicate his pre-race standing as favorite after falling out of GC on the brutal queen stage attributable to abdomen issues and a sequence of dangerous luck.
“It was good to get the win for the crew however I used to be at that race totally targeted on 2024,” mentioned Vine. “Something that I did on this race was good for the following yr and something that I might take out of it was going to be a constructive.
“I put quite a lot of work in though I did not wish to, so to have the ability to get one thing out of it was good.”
Classes for subsequent season
Vine’s switch to UAE Emirates noticed him leap from, on the time, a Professional Group with only a few climbers to a WorldTour setup full of GC hopefuls, and the information that management alternatives can be far and few between. He now had received massive stars Tadej Pogačar, Almeida, Juan Ayuso, Adam Yates, Brandon McNulty and Pavel Sivakov to compete and work with on that entrance.
Amidst the issue that comes with a Giro removed from what he wished and a DNF on the Vuelta a España attributable to one other crash, Vine seemed to the silver linings and classes to take ahead from disappointment, discovering inspiration from his British teammate Adam Yates.
“I’ve numerous learnings about how the crew rides in Grand Excursions, that is the primary factor. Tips on how to help a pacesetter, the right way to journey for a GC chief – as a result of I’ve by no means carried out that earlier than,” he mentioned.
“I’ve ridden for sprinters, however by no means carried out it for a GC man, so studying how they function, studying how I can finest help them in that position within the Grand Tour after which even be on the stage that I have to be that I can even do my very own factor as properly.”
Vine sees Adam Yates’ success on the Tour de France as a strong blueprint to chase, having tried to take action on the Vuelta however clearly not with the ability to take the total likelihood attributable to his crash.
“Adam Yates proved on the Tour what a very good GC rider can do in help of a pacesetter,” mentioned Vine. “I hoped to attempt to do one thing comparable, perhaps to not the identical stage on the Vuelta, however one thing comparable, however that is the purpose.”
Vine mentioned the route reveals for the Tour and Giro hadn’t distracted his concentrate on vacation whereas he dipped into black pudding and marvelled on the historical past of Stonehenge. His personal GC ambitions are nonetheless very a lot alive, and anticipate him to be hungry for a cleaner run into the Grand Excursions subsequent yr.
He received’t be alone in his endeavours, with spouse Bre proper by his aspect ever for the reason that couple made the plunge to chase Vine’s WorldTour dream and transfer to Europe. Vine credited Bre for her unbelievable help, particularly in his powerful moments after crashing out of the Vuelta on stage 6.
“For starters, she was there on the hospital earlier than I even received stitches in my arm…after which they determined that they weren’t going to do stitches and simply staple my arm again collectively,” mentioned Vine.
“Mentally after [crashing], having a supporting companion behind the scenes simply lets me do my very own factor for a few days. After which it is making an attempt to coax me again into the world after that. Like, with any job, you are feeling such as you’re working in your different half and it is a crew effort too with a typical purpose.”