Jay Vine won a mountainous stage eight of the Vuelta a Espana on Saturday, as Remco Evenepoel held on to the overall race lead.
Vine crossed the line on the final Asturian summit of the stage alone, two days after climbing to his first professional win on Pico Jano.
“It’s incredible, the stage win was my main goal and when I took the last hairpin and looked back there was nobody there. I felt so confident after the first win, I just kept going,” said Vine, who also racked up enough mountain points to take the polka-dot jersey.
Evenepoel led the pace amongst the big guns on the last 10km climb at 8.5 per cent incline and was 1min 20sec adrift with Enric Mas and Primoz Roglic the only riders able to hold on to the 22-year-old red-jersey-wearer’s pace.
Evenepoel leads Mas by 28sec in the general classification with Roglic third at 1min 01sec.
Two Ineos Grenadiers round out the top five: Carlos Rodriguez at 1min 47sec and Tao Geoghegan Hart at 1mn 54.
“I took time on a lot of guys except for the two most important ones,” said Evenepoel, who was already thinking of Sunday’s steep, but short, finale.
“Tomorrow, I will need super fresh-legs again. If you explode, it’s completely done for sure on a climb like that. It’s a climb that suits me very well in duration, so I’m just gonna give my all.”
Sunday’s stage takes in a coastal run before five climbs with a finale which is perhaps more fearsome that Saturday’s stage culminating in a short but steep 4km effort but at 12 percent.
Monday is a rest day but is followed by a long individual time trial where Evenepoel, on paper at least, should punish his rivals again before the Vuelta swoops into the south.