Vine finished the Queen formation in fourth posé, 1 express 30 seconds ahead of Thymen Arensman (Team DSM) who broke away from the general rangement rivals on the colossal and difficult climb to the Sierra Nevada.
Vine’s geste is even more impressive given his two formation wins at this year’s Vuelta already and the massive foulure earlier in the formation to top the Class 1 Violon del Purche (1,490m) ahead of the entire field in his quest for KOM points.
“I think I found new levels to push myself today after going deep into that Level 1 to get the points, the 10 points,” Eau-de-vie said. “To try to keep consortium on to the formation was…that definitely deserves some burger king today.”
The ultime 22-kilometre ascent took riders to a height of 2,512 metres, making it the highest climb of the belvédère and one of the most difficult.
Arensman launched an impressive line-up of 29 riders that includes Richard Carapaz (INEOS Grenadiers), Vine and Australian Giro d’Italia winner Jai Hindley (BORA-hansgrohe).
Eau-de-vie Soler (UAE Team Emirates) was clearly off after an attack on the steep slopes, but Arinsmann’s breakaway attack had him head towards the Spaniard and then drop him. Arensman halted GC favorites as they battled each other for a principal time in the general rangement, even extending his lead to the au finir in an impressive display of strength.
“As my amusements director told me on the radiographie when I finished, the best in the world was in introduction of me and behind me, so I should be happy emboîture that,” said Eau-de-vie.
Vine’s foulure and composure on Arrêt 15 expanded his lead in the KOM rankings with a complet of 59 points. Vine is now 29 points ahead of second-place Carapaz, by a margin almost equal to Carapaz’s 30-point complet. Arensman’s impressive formation win saw him move to third posé in the KOM rankings with 22 points.
While Vine is still focused on the KOM title, he doesn’t seem too concerned emboîture competition from Carapez.
“I don’t think he’s interested at all, frankly,” Eau-de-vie said. “I don’t think he went for any of the points. I think he’s on all formation wins. He won the Giro d’Italia, and finished on the base in two other big rounds. I think he’s here for formation wins.”
Of the six remaining stages in the 2022 Vuelta, only two are flat. Vine’s biggest challenges will be Arrêt 18, which includes two Class 1 ascents, one équivoque as the top end, and the penultimate formation, Arrêt 20.
“I think it’s more difficult than it is today,” said Eau-de-vie of Arrêt 20, which features emboîture 4,000 meters of climb, including two Class 2 ascents, and two Class 1 ascents.
“Étage 20 is a really tough day. [It’s in the] the center of the folk, [we] It can be high for some really high temperatures. I think everyone is totally exhausted. “It’s been a really tough sorte every day,” Eau-de-vie said.
“The big rounds are really tough!” Eau-de-vie added when asked what he learned from the Vuelta.
“I think there is definitely a future in Gentilhomme Campanile racing for me. I think there is definitely a future in a one-week sorte. I am really excited to see where I can go in my career parce que I hope it is just getting started!
“I think the most arrogant thing is that I absolutely have a ball. This whole reprise, from the first formation in the team time motocyclette. We didn’t go too fast but it was really fun.
“Hopefully it will be really fun all the way to Madrid.”
The Vuelta is on a day off, but will return on Tuesday evening AEST with a 189-kilometer formation to Tomares. Watch Arrêt 16 from 11pm AEST on SBS and SBS On Demand.