Vine completes star Tour Down Under debut

Jay Vine might soon have a car collection to rival fellow petrol head and cyclist Cadel Evans.

Vine again showed he is a new star in the WorldTour by winning the Tour Down Under title on debut.

The 27-year-old UAE Team Emirates rode superbly on Sunday to finish second behind British rival Simon Yates in the 112.5km last stage and hold onto his overall lead.

Evans is well-known for his love of cars and Vine's Dad has a garage in Queensland.

Vine's wife Bre has promised him a Corvette for his two stage wins at the Vuelta a Espana last year and he said he would be in the market for a 2017 Bentley after his Santos tour title.

"Cars run in the family, hopefully I'm going to be add a couple," he said.

Vine is also a big fan of four-time Formula One champion Alain Prost.

"His philosophy was take the risk when you can and we had the opportunity to go all-in - that's basically how I rode the race, not getting greedy (by) going for stage wins," he said.

"That's why it was a lot easier on the boys today, because we had a 15-second buffer.

"It took him to (four) world championships, so it should have been able to help me get a Tour Down Under win."

The team of two-time Tour de France winner Tadej Pogacar was superb all week, keeping Vine secure after he took the race lead on the Corkscrew climb that highlighted stage three.

"It's just confidence-inspiring that they've done all this before, they can certainly get a mug like me in my debut around this course," he said.

Vine famously secured a WorldTour contract in 2020 when he won a program on the popular Zwift online platform.

But he said his hard yards in Europe a few years earlier have been the biggest key to his blossoming career.

"Even if you just spend a month and a half eating two-minute noodles, just spend some time in Europe, racing kermesses, learning those bunch skills," he said.

Vine was asked what his strategy was for the last climb.

"Follow Yatesy, follow Yatesy, follow Yatesy, follow Yatesy," he said.

"Once we got over that last crest, then I was like I can't lose 15 seconds."

Vine, who loves espresso martinis and Kilkenny ale, said he would celebrate on Sunday night.

"I'm a super-lightweight. This might be my second drink of the year and probably my last for a long time," he said.

Vine beat Yates by 11 seconds overall, with Spaniard Pello Bilbao (Bahrain Victorious) third at 27 seconds.

Australian Tour de France star Ben O'Connor (Ag2r) broke away with Vine and Yates on the final climb and finished third, moving him from 10th to sixth overall.

The race returned as the opening WorldTour event of the season after two years on hold because of COVID-19.