Last October, when Jay Vine was still, officially at least, an Alpecin-Deceuninck rider, the idea of targeting the general classification at a Grand Tour seemed fanciful. Two stage wins at the Vuelta a España had illustrated his gifts in the mountains, but he insisted that three-week racing was about rather more than raw climbing talent.
“I think Grand Tours are a bit out of the question, we just don’t have the team to be able to do stuff in the mountains,” Vine said then, suggesting one-off exploits would remain the summit of his ambition in three-week races in 2023.
What a difference a transfer makes. Once Vine’s long-rumoured passage to UAE Team Emirates was formally confirmed as fact a fortnight or so later, his previous reservations about the Grand Tours quickly seemed to fade. Now, as Vine prepares for his Giro d’Italia debut, there appear to be no set limits on what he might achieve on the road to Rome.
João Almeida, fourth overall in 2020, sets out from Abruzzo as UAE Team Emirates’ obvious leader, but Vine, even allowing for the knee injury that interrupted his Spring, will not line out purely as a gregario. His aptitude in the mountains, not to mention the dramatic strides he has made against the watch this season, mean that he will nurture his ambitions of his own in Italy.
“After this injury, coming out of the Giro with a top ten would be incredible for me, but aside from an actual number I’m really looking forward to going through the process of completing a Giro with a GC team,” Vine tells Cyclingnews.
“That’s something that’s completely new to me, and it’s also a way to find out more about myself, about how to manage weight, nutrition, energy levels – all of that stuff – much more closely. Weight fluctuations were quite common for me in the two Vueltas I did, for instance.”
Alpecin-Deceuninck were the best Pro Continental team in each of Vine’s first two professional seasons and this year, they have shown themselves more than worthy of WorldTour status, with Mathieu van der Poel annexing two Monuments. Away from racing, their regimen includes housing riders in atmosphere-controlled rooms on training camps, yet Vine maintains the attention to detail at his new team is on an altogether different level.
The expression ‘two-speed cycling’ has recently made a comeback, and it’s not simply because…
Click Here to Read the Full Original Article at CyclingNews RSS Feed…