Jay Vine (Alpecin–Deceuninck) disappeared into the mist to claim another sensational win at La Vuelta on Stage 8, as Primoz Roglic (Jumbo-Visma) stayed glued to the wheel of Remco Evenepoel (Quick-Step Alpha Vinyl) in the red jersey.
After Quick-Step had controlled the peloton throughout, Evenepoel upped the pace towards the summit finish at Collau Fancuaya. Although he could not shake Roglic or Enric Mas (Movistar), he put more time into his other GC rivals.
Vine made his move from the breakaway with 6km remaining, decimating a group including aging stars Thibaut Pinot (Groupama–FDJ) and Mikel Landa (Bahrain Victorious). Marc Soler (UAE Team Emirates) threatened a brief comeback with 2km remaining but Vine kept his cool to double up. The Australian also doubled up with podium appearances, flying into first place in the KOM competition with maximum points on all six of the stage's summits.
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All on a day where it was far from a certainty that any move would make it to the end. Six categorised climbs and another summit finish surely favoured the peloton, unless someone in the break could make magic.
The uphill start, on a Category 2 climb, guaranteed there would be a long, hard fight to make it into the selection. Alexey Lutsenko (Astana) was the first to attack after what had been a cagey start, with no one seemingly inclined to fire the first shot. The Russian’s move caused a cascade of further accelerations from across the front of the peloton that eventually found a group of seven out on their own.

‘I looked back and there was no one’ - Vine after doubling up at Vuelta

Most determined of them to stay away were Vine and Sole, who passed the summit and began descending in tandem.
Some 25km into the stage, with six riders in pursuit, the team of the red jersey, Quick-Step Alpha Vinyl, decided to calm things down. The pace in the bunch fell away and it looked likely the break of the day had formed.
Alexey Lutsenko (Astana-Qazaqstan), Mikel Landa (Bahrain Victorious), Bruno Armirail (Groupama-FDJ), Rein Taaramae (Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert), Lucas Hamilton (BikeExchange-Jayco), Mads Pedersen (Trek-Segafredo) would link up with Vine and Soler to make a group of eight.
Only Thibaut Pinot (Groupama FDJ) seemed dissatisfied with the set, making a late dash in the company of team-mate Sebastien Reichenbach and calling Armirail back to assist the chase.
All three soon made their way to the break, which got to work on building and then sustaining what they hoped would be a meaningful advantage.
Having already become the virtual King of the Mountains on the first climb, Vine doubled his total for the day on the second, the Cat. 2 Alto de la Mozqueta. Three more points came Vine’s way on the first of three consecutive Cat. 3 ascents. After the incumbent KOM, Victor Langellotti (Burgos-BH), was forced to abandon with a suspected broken collarbone and concussion, Vine was all but assured of a podium appearance at day’s end.
Quick-Step Alpha Vinyl took their responsibilities as guardians of the maillot rojo seriously, with Remi Cavagna resolutely remaining glued to the front of the peloton. Once the break’s advantage hit four minutes, that was where it stayed for the entire midsection of the stage.
On the fourth climb of the day, Puerto de Tenebro, with 61km of the stage remaining, Cavagna handed the wheel to team-mate Pieter Serry. The escapees’ lead held steady at four minutes as Vine moved mathematically into the polka dot jersey.
Mads Pedersen (Trek-Segafredo) did the same at the intermediate sprint, rolling through uncontested to take the 20 points needed to become the virtual green jersey.
As the 10 continued to rotate, with no observable impetus in the peloton, it became increasingly likely that they would be able to stay away. Still, with the steep slopes of the final climb to come, they did not have the luxury of letting up either.

Evenepoel hails ‘perfect day’ after surviving Stage 8

By the foot of the Puerto Collau Fancuaya, a climb never before seen in the Vuelta, the gap had fallen slightly, thanks mainly to an aggressive but abbreviated pull on the front of the peloton from Julian Alaphilippe (Quick-Step Alpha Vinyl). The world champion’s injection of pace on the early steep slopes served to shell riders out the back, and reduce the bunch to just 20 riders.
Barely a minute later, up the road, the day’s real action was kicking off. Lutsenko started it all, but lasted no time out front. Vine first followed then duly dropped the Russian, with Pinot and Taarame on his wheel before, one by one, his rivals fell away.
Vine rode hard but steady, and always within himself, even on ramps that troubled the high teens and low twenties.
Soler was able to tempo his way back into second place on the road and for a moment it looked as if the Spaniard might make it one place higher. He could not. It had taken everything he had to get Vine in his sights, while Vine still had more to give.
Over the intervening kilometres, the peloton was left with just the best. Evenepoel, enjoying his second day in red, only had Roglic, Enric Mas (Movistar) and Carlos Rodriguez (Ineos Grenadiers) for company, with a group containing Juan Ayuso (UAE Team Emirates) and Giro d’Italia champion Jai Hindley (Bora-Hansgrohe) several seconds further back.
Vine pushed on, soaring through the clouds, sailing across the line and saluting the sky as he claimed his second Vuelta victory in three stages.
Evenepoel, meanwhile, passed his first real test in the red jersey with flying colours, finishing at the front of the group of three that must already be the main contenders for the Vuelta's overall title.
Afterwards, Vine described how he had done it.
“Lutsenko did a starting move and I was sort of in the wheel, so I decided to follow," he began.
"After he pulled off, there was no indication he was going to do a second attack, so I decided it’s about a 25-minute effort from here, similar to what I did two days ago, so I decided to keep the pressure on. After about a minute and a half I looked down and there was no [one on my] wheel. I forced myself to get to the next hairpin, looked back and there was no-one, so I kept going."

What can we expect from Zwift-turned-road star Vine?

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