Vine soars to second Vuelta stage triumph

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Australian Jay Vine won a mountainous stage eight of the Vuelta a Espana on Saturday, as Belgian Remco Evenepoel held on to the overall race lead.

Alpecin rider 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.

Evenepoel of Quick Step led the pace amongst the big guns on the last 10km climb at 8.5% incline and was 1min 20sec adrift with Enric Mas of Movistar and Primoz Roglic of Jumbo the only riders able to hold on to the 22-year-old red jersey holder’s pace.

Evenepoel now leads Mas by 28sec in the general classification with Roglic in third at 1min 01sec.

Two Ineos Grenadiers lurk just behind them to round out the top five with Carlos Rodriguez at 1min 47sec and Tao Geoghegan Hart at 1mn 54.

The race set off under low grey skies through the Nalon Valley and 10 riders escaped on the first climb in the Picos de Europa National Park.

King of the mountains jersey Victor Langellotti (Burgos-BH) pulled out with a broken collarbone along the way and only 169 of the original 184 riders remain.

The green points jersey changed hands as the Dane Mads Pedersen took enough sprint points in his stint in the escape to edge ahead of Irishman Sam Bennett of Bora.

Vine also racked up enough mountain points to take the polka dot jersey along with his second stage win.

Sunday’s stage takes in a coastal run before a finale which is perhaps more fearsome with a short 4km effort but at 12%.

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.

bur/dmc/nr